Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 1995

Nation's First RTG on its Way

As required under a conditional approval order issued in October, the Western Regional Transmission Association (WRTA) has filed its compliance agreement at the FERC (Docket No. ER94-1288-000). WRTA agrees to provide comparable transmission service, and has filed a transmission plan that gives individual members the right to make the final decisions on whether transmission facilities are built. WRTA has 31 members (em utilities, state agencies, and independent power producers (IPPs) (em that represent 70 percent of the transmission capabilities in the western United States.


NUGs Take the Cake

I take great exception to the presumption of Messrs. Costello, Burns, and Hegazy ("How State Regulators Should Handle Retail Wheeling," Feb. 15, 1995) that retail wheeling's "day will come." This is the oft repeated but never proven siren's song of Elcon's John Anderson and the other industrial/ cogeneration groups. The authors write: "For retail wheeling to become politically palatable, legislatures and PUCs must address the question of how to minimize the negative effects on core customers in the short term." Why?

Financial News

The financial community's focus on utility competition has been riveted on the proceedings now in progress at state regulatory commissions. The fear that something immediately damaging will come out of these proceedings seems to have diminished in recent months, and the stock market has reacted favorably. However, regulatory developments are only one of four paths leading to competition; the others are the marketplace, the legislatures, and the courts.

FERC Vindicates New York IPP Contracts

When the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reform the contract prices of two independent power producers (IPPs), Lockport Energy Associates, L.P. and Saranac Power Partners, L.P., the move triggered a call to arms from the Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY). And in the pitched battle that followed, IPPNY did indeed emerge victorious. The IPPs sell electricity to New York State Electric and Gas Co.

NGVs -- Are Ratepayer Subsidies Appropriate?

According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (em a national organization of local natural gas distributors, pipelines, and equipment manufacturers promoting natural gas vehicles (NGVs) (em the U.S. government supports our country's continued reliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation through billions in subsidies and tax incentives.

Virginia Power Fights Muni Flight

Virginia Power (VP) has asked the Virginia Corporation Commission to prevent a municipality, the City of Falls Church, from ousting VP as the provider of electric service (Case No. PUE9500). VP says the city notified the utility that it intended to establish either a municipal purchasing or marketing entity or an electric utility that would own or control enough transmission or distribution facilities to avoid the "sham wholesale transaction" prohibition of the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

PSC Washes Hands of QF Contract Dispute

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has refused to settle a dispute between Florida Power Corp., an electric utility, and numerous qualified cogenerating facilities (QFs) over pricing terms contained in negotiated purchased-power agreements previously approved as cost-effective. The PSC ruled that interpretation of provisions in negotiated, as opposed to approved standard-offer, contracts between utilities and QFs was a matter for the courts and rejected allegations that review and approval gave the PSC continuing jurisdiction to interpret the contracts.