The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a final order requiring Texas Utilities Electric Co. (TU) and its affiliate, Southwestern Electric Service Co., to provide network transmission service to Tex-La Electric Cooperative of Texas Inc. (Docket No. ER94-1385-000). Network service allows multiple points of receipt and delivery at a single system rate. Tex-La, a customer of Texas Utilities and a bulk-power supplier for seven distribution cooperatives in Texas, is seeking to buy power from third parties and transmit the power over TU's transmission system.
Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1995
The Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) has approved an alternative price regulation plan (PRP) for New England Telephone Co. (NET), while reducing its rates by 9.56 percent (about $15 million) per year, and ordering a $11.5-million rate refund. (Under state law, NET is not required to accept the price regulation plan.
Ratings Reveal Risk
In an interesting article (Oct. 15, 1994), Professor Brooks Marshall suggests that bond ratings are a poor predictor of equity risk, based on a regression of utility risk measures on measures of utility bond ratings. For utility variables, he used 1) stock beta and 2) risk premiums based on analysts' expected forecasts. For bond rating measures, he used 1) average yields for various classes of bonds and 2) a numerical ranking.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has clarified the terms and conditions for default contracts designed for use on an interim basis when disputes arise over the sale or spinoff of pipeline-affiliated gas gathering systems.
Citing an excessive commitment to increasingly expensive purchased-power contracts, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) has reduced allowed rate of return on equity by 75 basis points. In setting rates for Central Vermont Public Service Corp., the PSB explained that ratepayers should not bear all of the costs associated with 1) excessive power commitments; 2) a failure to fully explore return sales opportunities; and 3) inefficient energy-efficiency programs.
A competitive market for electric power raises the point that some utility investments might be overvalued, giving rise to "stranded investment." Nevertheless, actual utility exposure to stranded investment may prove less severe than reported, according to a recent study we conducted at Resource Data International, Inc. (RDI), Retail Power Markets in the U.S., (em perhaps the first detailed analysis of stranded investment from generating assets, performed on a unit-by-unit basis for all power plants in the United States.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has vacated the Clean Air Act (CAA) compliance rules for reducing NOx emissions from coal-burning electric facilities (Alabama Power Co. v. EPA, No. 94-1170, 94-1329, Nov. 29, 1994). The ruling suspends any obligation to comply with the NOx standards pending further rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) will require Energy Michigan (em a nonprofit corporation whose members promote expanded use of cogeneration, IPPs, and waste-to-energy projects (em to provide Consumers Power Co. with information concerning the extent of existing and proposed self-generation projects that pose a competitive threat. The PSC directed Energy Michigan to answer interrogatories served by Consumers after Energy Michigan intervened in a proceeding concerning a new "competitive tariff" proposed by the utility.