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Fortnightly Magazine - July 15 1995

Making it Work: The Goal is Greater Shareholder Value

Stanley J. Bright

While the intensity of management activity was very high throughout the merger planning process, it was generally well ordered, in large measure because our Corporate/ Utility Transition Team and 16 sub-teams formed an effective vehicle for managing the planning process.

The Transition Team was given less than one year from the July 27, 1994, merger announcement date to plan the implementation of the merger.

FERC Wants Rolled-in Pricing for Systemwide Benefits

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a policy statement requiring

rolled-in pricing for new pipeline facilities where the benefits to the system are proportionate to the rate impact on existing customers (Docket No. PL94-4-000). In the past, the FERC made cost-recovery pricing decisions during the first rate case after the facilities were constructed. Now, the FERC will make its determination when the certificate is issued.

Whither PUHCA: Repeal or Re-Deal?

Douglas W. Hawes

On a purely intellectual level, it is difficult to justify the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA). Sixty years after passage, PUHCA has become an anachronism (em a fact well articulated in comments filed in response to the Concept Release on the modernization of the Act issued last November by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).1 More recently, the SEC's Division of Investment Management actually recommended a conditional repeal (see sidebar).

Capacity Release Standards Issued

Lori A. Burkhart

On May 31, the Gas Industry Standards Board (GISB) circulated for industry review and comment proposed electronic standards for capacity release. The proposed standards are based on the work of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) electronic bulletin board (EBB) working group, and include those formally adopted by the FERC in Order 563. GISB added easy implementation methods and expanded the definitions of the information requirements. It also included enhancements that the FERC EBB working group plans to file for FERC review in the near future.

Commentary: Pro & Con

Ferd. C. Meyer

Senior V.P. & General Counsel

Central & South West Corp.

While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Hawes's conclusion that outright repeal of the 1935 Act (PUHCA) is needed, I disagree with his conclusion that the odds are currently against repeal.

The general enthusiasm for deregulation in Congress and the Administration (as noted by Mr. Hawes), and the compelling case for repeal, will, I believe, overcome arguments opposing repeal of a statute that is the embodiment of unnecessary and burdensome regulation.

GAO Wants 10-Percent Rate Hike for TVA

Lori A. Burkhart

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) chief operating officer

Joe Dickey is displeased with a General Accounting Office (GAO) report advocating a 10-percent rate hike for TVA. Dickey says that TVA has held rates steady for eight straight years and plans to hold them stable for at least another two. He notes that the report focuses on the past and suggests privatizing TVA as an option. Dickey adds that the GAO criticizes TVA cost,s but ignores that TVA has cut its workforce by half since 1988 and its costs by $800 million.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Last Spring I heard superintendent William "Billy" Ray tell how the folks down home at his Glasgow, KY, municipal utility took a flier on the information superhighway. They gambled and won by constructing a new utility-owned cable television system to offer competitive TV service to their municipal electric customers.

MidAmerican Energy Gets Green Light

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved the proposed merger of Midwest Power Systems, Inc. and Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric Co. to form MidAmerican Energy Co. as consistent with the public interest (Docket No. EC95-4-000).

The City of Independence, MO, asked the FERC to condition the merger on MidAmerican providing some form of protection against merger-related rate increases, but the FERC found no evidence that costs would increase as a result of the merger.

Mailbag

Salt River Project has appointed Capitol Hill veteran Renee Eastman manager of federal affairs. Eastman previously served four years as a representative for Sun Company, the nation's largest independent oil refiner and marketer.

Peter M. Schwolsky, former executive v.p. at New Jersey Resources Corp., has joined Columbia Gas System as senior v.p. He will become chief legal officer of the corporation later this year.

Financial News

Charles M. Studness

The California Public Utilities

Commission (CPUC) moved a tortured step closer to deciding how it will reform its regulation of the

state's electric utilities when it

adopted a Proposed Policy Decision in its proceeding on competition by a 3-to-1 vote on May 24. The Proposed Decision retreats from the free-market approach the CPUC took when it presented its "Blue Book" proposal in April 1994.

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