The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) plans to acquire the Long Island Lighting Co. (LILCO), to help reduce LILCO's high electric rates and improve Long Island's economy. To that end, LIPA has formed a public/private partnership with a private utility company that will provide extensive management services for LILCO. The utility partner has agreed to invest $100 million in the acquisition, contingent upon Gov. Pataki's approval. LIPA would create a subsidiary to acquire LILCO using tax-exempt bonds.
Fortnightly Magazine - August 1995
PSI Energy has filed a proposed tariff with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) that would allow new and expanding businesses in its service territory to choose their power supplier if their electric use increases to two megawatts or more. PSI said the tariff would give qualifying businesses access to the national electric market. It expects the URC to decide by the spring of 1996.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has initiated a rulemaking to introduce an alternative method of calculating the tax equivalent for municipal utilities. The tax equivalent is calculated annually and represents the amount of money a municipal utility pays directly into the municipality's general fund. The rulemaking responds to concerns that the tax equivalent was excessive when compared to the gross receipts taxes paid by investor-owned utilities.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has granted preliminary approval to a water utility's proposal to "project finance" the cost of a new treatment facility required to comply with federal and state laws. The utility, Massachusetts-American Water Co., had proposed forming a special purpose corporation solely to finance the plant. The new corporation would lease the facility to the utility, using the payments to repay tax-exempt bonds issued under the financing plan.
By a 2-1 vote, the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has placed a condition on approval of Houston Lighting and Power's (HLP) experimental tariff for special contract pricing (Rate Schedule SCP) with industrial customers whose electric power needs are or can be served by alternative sources of power: The floor of the rates must be designed to recover marginal costs (Docket No. 12957). The order on rehearing affirmed an earlier PUC decision shortening the term of the contracts from the proposed 7 to 10 years to 5 to 10 years.
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) favors restructuring opportunities consistent with a statewide,
single-operator transmission system. Their proposed model, submitted to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) as part of the "Competitive Opportunities" proceeding, envisions an independent system operator that would own and operate all transmission facilities in the state. Alternatively, NYPA would agree to a consortium in which owners cede their facilities to a single operating entity via a contractual relationship.
Genuine competition - with greater efficiency and bona fide service improvements - is not unwelcome at most utilities. But spurious competition, with inconsistencies among players in the rules of the game, is a cause of frustration for utilities and customers alike.
Regulation in the natural gas industry is evolving rapidly. And on the electric side, the current flurry of activity is likely to draw on recent gas industry experience and move even faster.
Efforts to site new facilities for the disposal of hazardous waste (HW) and radioactive waste have met with utter paralysis. HW disposal companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to site new landfills and incinerators for this waste, but most of this money has gone down the drain. Since the enactment of the chief federal law on HW, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), only one new HW landfill has opened on a new site in the United States (in prophetically named Last Chance, CO).