Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1995

FERC Denies Market Rates for Kentucky

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied a request by Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) to charge market-based rates for bulk-power sales. In a related action, the FERC called for a public hearing on KU's accompanying transmission tariff, which would establish point-to-point rather than network service.

California to Reconsider PBOP Rulings

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has reaffirmed an earlier ruling permitting telecommunications utilities subject to price-cap regulation to use accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions (PBOPs) under SFAS 106. It also warned that it may change its existing policy, which allows recovery of the costs of the accounting change as an exogenous cost under the price-cap form of regulation. The CPUC explained that "strong arguments can be made" that PBOP costs are within the utilities' control and simply normal costs of doing business.

PSE&G Customers Can Shop Around for Gas

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has approved a plan that will allow Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) to offer new transportation services to its commercial and industrial (C/I) natural gas customers. As a result of the BPU action, PSE&G will begin offering third-party gas transportation and other services to C/I customers regardless of size, amount of gas used, or alternate fuel capabilities. These customers may purchase gas directly from producers and marketers and arrange for PSE&G to transport and deliver the gas.

Perspective

I am under siege. To be more precise, my company and American corporations in general are under siege. In popular media today, corporations are consistently treated as suspect at best (em and demonized at worst. If you switch off your critical faculties when you watch television or go to the movies, you're probably convinced that corporate America is out to destroy this country. In 1964, while campaigning for Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan framed the issue perfectly.

Indiana Authorizes Order 636 Transition Cost Recovery

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) has authorized Northern Indiana Public Service Co. to recover its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 636 pipeline transition charges under a rate design proposal that divides the charges between sales and transportation customers. Under the approved recovery plan, the gas local distribution company (LDC) will pass to all ratepayers on a volumetric basis those transition charges related to gas supply realignment and stranded investment.

World's Largest Geothermal is Formed

After much contention, California Energy Co. Inc. and Magma Power Co., both geothermal energy producers, have signed a merger agreement that will give Magma

stockholders $39 a share, or about $950 million in aggregate value. The agreement has been approved by both boards of directors. California Energy's tender offer included shares representing a majority of the voting power of Magma as well as funding of financing. The merger is also conditioned on the approval of California Energy's shareholders.

Marketing & Competing

It was far from common just two years ago to identify an electric utility with a senior executive responsible for proactive marketing activities. Today, such people are relatively easy to find. Often they report directly to the CEO.

The waves of utility downsizings and corporate reorganizations have brought the realization that electricity will need to be sold, serviced, and strategically marketed to customers large and small.

Connecticut Ties Telecom Reform to Info Highway

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has issued the first in a series of policy statements designed to guide reform of telecommunications regulation under a new state law calling for the promotion of an "information superhighway" in the state by adding more competition in the marketplace.

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