Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 1995

Caution urged in Wisconsin

Three representatives from Wisconsin's electric industry have asked Wisconsin commissioner Scott A. Neitzel to give highest priority to investigating the proposed $6-billion merger of Wisconsin Energy Corp. and Northern States Power Co. to create the nation's 10th-largest electric utility, Primergy Corp. In a letter, executives from Madison Gas & Electric Co., Wisconsin Public Power Inc.

CSW/EPE Merger Moves Backward, Forward

Central and South West Corp. (CSW) has notified El Paso Electric Co. (EPE) that it has breached the companies' merger agreement by participating in discussions about and spending large sums on a possible stand-alone reorganization plan. CSW said it was not terminating the merger, but merely protecting its rights. On May 22, CSW received a request from EPE to extend the merger agreement for six months, until December 8, 1995.

Energy Service Marketing: ESM Supplants DSM

The nonstop dialogue about retail wheeling, power brokers, PoolCos, and restructuring overlooks customers and their increasing thirst for value-added services. Aside from a few emphatic words by some industrial users, little has been said about customer expectations. This article offers a snapshot of the brave new world of energy service marketing (ESM). ESM will take the place of demand-side management (DSM) and electricity marketing, blending the best of both.

ESM is simple.

Lawmakers Target PURPA for Repeal

On June 6 the Energy Production and Regulation Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), held a hearing on legislation S. 708, The Electric Utility Ratepayer Act, which would repeal section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which mandates purchases from qualifying facilities (QFs) at avoided-cost rates.

Take No Prisoneers? A Price-War Strategy for Electric Utilities

In talking to electric utility managers from across the country we have found that most believe direct access will have major repercussions on all aspects of their business by the end of the decade. Not surprisingly, there is an emerging consensus that revenues will drop rapidly as supply options grow for retail customers.

FERC Orders Power Pools to Transmit

For the first time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has directed a power pool, the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Power Pool, to provide electric transmission services to an electric utility, Duquesne Light Co. (Docket Nos. TX94-10-000 and TX94-8-000). It gave PJM 70 days to negotiate rates and terms with Duquesne, which had asked for transmission service to market excess capacity and energy. The FERC ordered the 11 members of the pool to negotiate jointly with Duquesne, and to charge comparable rates.

The Mega-NOPR

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Mega-NOPR1 covers four topics:

1) The FERC's jurisdictional powers to implement wholesale open access

2) The FERC's proposal for electric utilities to recover "legitimate and verifiable stranded costs" from departing wholesale customers (a small fraction of all stranded investment), and its belief that states should ensure recovery on retail bypass (the much larger share)

3) A range of measures to implement

WRTA First to get FERC Final Approval

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted final approval to the Western Regional Transmission Association (WRTA), making it the first regional transmission group (RTG) approved under the FERC's 1993 policy statement (Docket Nos. ER94-1288-003 and


WRTA had received conditional approval last October, but members were directed to provide comparable electric transmission service and file a single, regional transmission plan.

Electricity Transmission and Emerging Competition

Interesting times. Challenging times. Confusing times. The electricity industry and its regulators are now inextricably meshed in a tangle of interconnected reforms. With 50 states as laboratories, the process is accelerating. There is no going back. But which way is forward?

The old model of a closed system of vertically integrated electric utilities offering bundled service has been discarded in theory, and is being dismantled in practice.

FERC Oks $100M Hydro Settlement

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commmission (FERC) has approved a comprehensive settlement that issues a new license allowing the Seattle City Light Co. to continue operating the 689-megawatt Skagit River hydroelectric project. In exchange, the utility will spend $100 million on protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural resources around the plant (Project No. 553-005, Docket No. EL78-36-000).