Steven Rosenstock, P.E., and Mark E. Krebs
If truth is the first casualty of war, as we learned from author Mark Krebs ("It's a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric 'Efficiency,'" December 1996, p. 24), then certainly the truth has been mutilated beyond recognition.
His article, which suggests that electric utilities have used conservation and demand-side programs improperly (to build electric load at the expense of natural gas!) is full of inaccuracies, misleading charts and other errors.
Bruce B. Lindsay
I was amused and concerned by the allegations of marketing warfare that Mr. Krebs felt compelled to address in his December 1996 article.
Phil Hanser, Jose Wharton, and Peter Fox-Penner
The electric industry hasn't seen so much upheaval since Thomas Edison threw the switch at the Pearl Street Station. Full retail access to competitive markets in generation and supply will challenge traditional ways of doing business. But no change will prove more dramatic for electric utilities than setting a competitive price (em that most fundamental of business decisions.
In anticipation of competition, utilities have been experimenting to discern what forms of the "product" (em electric power (em customers might want, and at what prices. One such experiment is real-time pricing.
Phillip S. Cross
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has authorized the Boston Gas Co. to implement a performance-based rate plan that will include a price cap for monopoly services, using the "GDP-PI" measure of inflation, minus a productivity offset of 2 percent.
It also told Boston Gas to cut rates by $2.897 million but allowed the company to go forward on an interim basis with an plan to unbundle services and require customers or marketers to take manadatory assignment of a pro rata share of the company's upstream pipeline and storage capacity contracts.
James P. Healy
My business, the natural gas industry, stands at a crossroads. Unbundling and deregulation permeate the market. The next three years will see the end of many fixed, long-term supply and transportation service contracts (em the closing of an era.
In fact, natural gas marks perhaps the last commodity traded on a major exchange that remains captive to such long-term contracts. The demise of such contracts will add flexibility to gas pricing and supply management.
This evolution will accelerate with a host of changes in the way gas moves in wholesale markets.
Lori A. Burkhart
A group of 40 state agencies has joined with 33 utilities and the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition (NWSC) to file a lawsuit in federal district court after the Department of Energy (DOE) reported that it would not comply with a federal court mandate to accept high-level radioactive waste for permanent storage as of January 31, 1998, and begin removing such waste from temporary storage at some 73 power plants in 34 states.
The D.C. Circuit had ruled against the DOE last summer. (See, Indiana-Michigan Power Co. v.
Lori A. Burkhart
Southern California Gas Co. (SCG) has begun using monthly forecasts to set prices for its core commercial and industrial natural gas customers, ending the practice of forecasting gas costs more than one year in advance and then computing the bill using a projected, annual weighted-average cost of gas (WACOG).
Monthly gas pricing is expected for residential customers when the California PUC reaches a decision in SCG's Biennial Cost Allocation Proceeding.
Lori A. Burkhart
A study procured by the INGAA Foundation (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America) finds a resurgence in use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a peak-shaving alternative for local distribution companies (LDCs).
The study, "The Use of Liquefied Natural Gas For Peaking Service," conducted by Stone & Webster Management Consultants, Inc., attributed a rise in the use of LNG plants for peak shaving to a deregulated environment (FERC Order 636, plus use of the "straight fixed-variable" rate design for gas pipeline capacity), which forces LDCs to assess their true capacity needs.
Bruce W. Radford
On Monday, January 6, the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) voted unanimously to require mandatory compliance from its regional and affiliate councils with all reliability "policies" adopted by NERC. Previously, the regional councils (MAPP, ERCOT, ECAR, etc.) were only required to give their "best efforts" to comply.
As the board explains, "Compliance with NERC rules needs to be insured, but peer pressure will not be sufficient."
This new vote stems from "A Call to Action," mailed out on October 28 by Richard J.
Sound bites from state and federal regulators.
Natural Gas Briefs
Gas Motor Vehicles. Federal appeals court revokes antitrust immunity in suit by California CNG, Inc., alleging that Southern California Gas sought to dominate gas vehicle (NGV) refueling market by offering "free or virtually free" installation and maintenance of refueling facilities for NGV fleet operators. No. 95-55806, Sept. 19, 1996, 96 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir.).