Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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FERC Deals with Vertical Market Power in Mergers

Lori A. Burkhart

In two separate cases, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the first time has approved an analytical framework for examining vertical market power concerns raised by convergence mergers of gas and electric companies. This new framework applies when market power in one sector (such as natural gas) threatens competition in another (e.g., electricity).

In the first case, the FERC on June 25 conditionally approved the disposition of jurisdictional facilities in the proposed merger of two holding companies, Enova Corp.

Joules

Bay State Gas Co. has sold its 17.5-percent equity interest in the Masspower cogeneration plant to Energy Investors Fund Group. The sale price wasn't released; Bay State said it was more than book value. The 240-megawatt, gas-fired combined-cycle plant provides steam for Monsanto Co.

Bridgeport, Conn., is the planned site of a $260-million, 520-MW power plant. Duke Energy Power Services, United Illuminating Co. and Siemens Power Ventures signed a letter of intent to build the gas-fired, combined-cycle merchant plant.

Perspective

Albert J. Budney, Jr.

Canadian markets beckon U.S. utilities, and vice versa, demanding greater access to transmission lines to bridge the gap.

When I took the job of president of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., way up North, near the Canadian border, I shared the news with a close friend. I told him how excited I was to be joining an innovative team that was out in front, breaking new ground in the competitive arenas rapidly evolving in the electric power industry.

Michigan Competition Plan Meets Opposition

Lori A. Burkhart, and Phillip S. Cross

Putting aside calls for a faster-paced switch to the new industry format, the Michigan Public Service Commission has adopted a phase-in schedule for customer direct access to alternative electricity suppliers that runs through 2002. The order, which some have said needs additional work, also outlines stranded cost recovery policies and related securitization strategies.

Under the plan, 2.5 percent of each electric utility's retail load will become eligible for customer choice each year from 1997 through 2001, with all customers eligible in 2002.

Joules

MCN Investment Corp. and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. plan to build a $45-million liquified natural gas plant near the Delaware-Maryland border. The project, named Continental States Peaking Services L.L.C., would liquify, store and vaporize gas beginning in early 2000. It would connect to the Eastern Shore Natural Gas pipeline system, with access to the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and Columbia Gas Transmission system.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Appliance Repair Business. Responding to complaints from unregulated providers, New York rules that natural gas LDCs must run their appliance repair services through a separate subsidiary. PSC terms its existing policies "anachronistic" and finds that subsidies for appliance repair services are inappropriate. Case 93-G-0804, April 4, 1997 (N.Y.P.S.C.).

DSM Program Design. Michigan appeals court says state PSC exceeded authority and "impermissibly interfered with management decisions" of Detroit Edison Co.

FERC Issues Certificates for Two New Gas Pipelines

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted two certificates for natural gas pipeline projects in the Southeastern U.S. One certificate went to Southern Natural Gas Co. for construction of a controversial pipeline to serve two municipal customers; a second was issued to Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. for the largest single expansion of its pipeline and storage system.

The FERC on May 28 voted 5-0 to grant a certificate to Southern Natural Gas Co. to construct approximately 118 miles of natural gas pipeline to serve two municipal customers.

Electric vs. Gas Cont...

Dr. William Ryan; and Ed Reid

Mr. Lindsay's March 1 letter (PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, p. 6) requires some further discussion. We do agree that reducing cooling seasonal peak electric demand is desirable. Lessening the electric infrastructure's environmental effects and electric system failures, as we witnessed in the summer of 1996, is to the public good. However, thermal storage systems have siting issues and the potential to run out of capacity at the worst possible time on peak days.

Parties Push DOE for Answers

Lori A. Burkhart

In response to an April 30 federal court order, parties suing the Department of Energy over nuclear waste storage have asked the court to require DOE to submit a detailed description within 30 days of its plan to begin removing radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.

Parties to the suit (em numbering 103 (em on May 7 also asked the court for permission to escrow more than $600 million in annual payments into the fund.

Marketing and Competing

Leonard M. Fuld, and Diane Borska

Identifying a core competency is not as easy as it seems.

Utilities have developed a "Gold Rush" mentality. That is, they have begun to chase after the latest (em and sometimes fleeting (em opportunities, often abandoning their roots and their long-held strengths in the process. Supposedly, this first-in-market race will allow traditional utilities to remain competitive. Yet, all this racing has caused strong regional players to enter markets blindly, without the competitive knowledge or strategic underpinnings that will allow them to succeed in the long term.

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