Everybody's talking about electric utilities dabbling in telecommunications. That's fine. But how about vice versa? Maybe what we've really got is telephone companies (and cable television, too) getting into energy. That's different.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1995
One of the most exciting challenges facing electric utilities is the opportunity to participate on the so-called "information highway." Not only is the technology evolving at a dazzling pace, but the opportunities to make or lose money will be staggering. The growth in sales of electricity has been and will be relatively slow compared to the dynamic growth in sales of cable television, information, online, cellular telephone, and other telecommunications services.
NorAm Energy Corp. has appointed Charles M. Oglesby president of the NorAm Trading & Transportation Group. NTTG includes NorAm's two pipelines, NorAm Field Services, and NorAm Energy Services. Oglesby was previously a v.p. of Coastal Corp. and president and CEO of Coastal Gas Services Co. William A. Kellstrom was promoted to v.p. of corporate business development. Kellstrom was previously president and COO of NorAm Energy Services, NTTG's marketing arm.
The Coastal Corp. has elected Richard G. Smead senior v.p.
As evidence of a continuing trend toward competition in the retail market for natural gas, state regulators point to the continued popularity of special discount rates. Designed to allow local distribution companies (LDCs) to retain existing customers, these rates are often approved despite concerns about the costs and their effect on other customers.
The Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC), for one, recently approved a proposal from Delmarva Power & Light Co.
Gordon Canning's article, "Entering the Appliance Repair Business" (Feb. 1, 1995), contains several inaccuracies. First, Mr. Canning asserts that "the residential customer views the utility as a preferred provider." This is not a universal given. Residential customers only view a utility as a preferred provider of appliance service if the utility is allowed to engage in nonutility business activities and to subsidize these services below fair-market value.
The bad news for qualifying facilities (QFs) continues. A high-profile project in the District of Columbia appears dead, but developers won a small victory when a federal court refused to stop a suit by the developers against municipal officials for damages connected with the regulatory barriers erected by the city at the behest of concerned citizens. More damaging was the recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court requiring reluctant regulators to review the ceiling price set for QF purchases in a recent bid conducted by Boston Edison Co.
NARUC Goes on Record
In a recent article, "Why Taxes Do Distort Emissions Trading" (Feb.15, 1995), Stanley I. Garnett II, chief financial officer of Allegheny Power System, Inc. discusses a legislative proposal currently promoted by his firm and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). This proposal seeks to amend current Internal Revenue Service policy on federal tax treatment of the proceeds of emission allowance sales.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved terms for interconnection and mutual compensation between Ameritech Michigan, a dominant local exchange carrier (LEC), and City Signal, Inc., a newly certificated competitive provider of LEC services. The move marks another step in the PSC's experiment with local telephone competition in the Grand Rapids exchange.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) set in motion a new round of restructuring for the U.S. electric power industry when it issued its latest Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR).
The Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC) has turned down a request from South Central Bell, a telephone local exchange carrier (LEC), to switch its form of regulation from the existing incentive-based rate plan to a pure price-cap plan. Under its proposed plan, the LEC would freeze rates for basic residential services for a three-year period, and then cap rate changes based on the rate of inflation. Rates for interconnection and nonbasic services would be market-based.