Our industry stands at the threshold of significant change. Competitive forces and significant technological advances beckon the nation's electric utilities to step forward. The electric industry has the opportunity to create a future that provides the benefits of competition to all customer groups. If we don't restructure, someone else will do it for us.
Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1995
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has decided to continue its five-year-old revenue sharing plan for U S WEST Communications, a local exchange telephone carrier, for one year. It initiated a workshop to develop a new regulatory plan for the carrier, and also proposed specific quality-of-service standards and penalties due to a recent decline in service quality.
In the United States, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has undertaken the task of guiding the electric power industry from regulation to competition. But unless the FERC develops a plan to consider all facets of electric deregulation at the same time, we may end up driving on the wrong side of the road.
Last October the FERC issued its policy statement on electric transmission pricing. See, Inquiry Concern. Pricing Policy for Trans. Servs.
Over 300 bills were introduced in the first week of the new Congress that convened in January, among them a bill by Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) aimed at correcting the government's seriously flawed nuclear waste storage program. Johnston heralded S.
By Kenneth W. Costello, Robert E. Burns, and Youssef HegazyThe electric power industry is next in line for dramatic change. Competition has edged into individual markets, particularly the bulk-power market. This move toward competition has provoked debate in several states over the merits of retail wheeling. Specifically, should retail customers have the right to purchase their power requirements from sources other than the local utility? Many states have addressed the issue in different forums, at different levels of intensity.
EL87-53-003). The new rule comes as part of a case in which Connecticut Light and Power Co.
Stranded commitments (SC), because they are potentially huge, may be a show stopper for increased competition in the U.S. electricity industry. Utility shareholders, industrial customers, and small commercial and residential customers are likely to wage tough battles before state and federal regulatory commissions as they seek to reduce their exposure to these costs.
The seven regional Bell operating companies have formed a coalition (em the Alliance for Competitive Communications (em to spearhead their efforts to reform the nation's telecommunications laws. The group's central goal is to eliminate barriers to competition among local telephone, long-distance, and cable television companies by:
s Encouraging competition in all markets
s Protecting universal service
s Opening markets to all competitors at once
s Ensuring that all competitors in each market are regulated similarly.
The year-long decline in the electric utility stock market has caught most market observers off guard. Picking the winners among electrics has become more difficult. Says Ed Tirello, long-time market savant and utility equity analyst at NatWest Securities, "Competition and retail wheeling have made the selection process nearly impossible short term."
To identify tomorrow's best industry performers, electric utility analysts have focused on generation.
Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the state's Biennial Resource Plan Update energy auction (BRPU). SCE charges that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and FERC regulations by reinstating the auction late last year.
SCE believes that the auction, which requires California utilities to enter purchased-power contracts, could increase its potential stranded costs by up to $4 billion (in nominal dollars).