A U.S. House-Senate conference committee may remove a provision in present law that requires the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy electricity solely from its local distribution company. The House of Representatives has already voted DOD (300 to 126) the right to buy electricity from the most economical source. A first step toward allowing retail wheeling for military bases, the provision is part of the House fiscal year 1996 Defense Authorization bill.
Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1995
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) ruling permitting Metropolitan Edison Co. to charge current ratepayers approximately $8.3 million a year for a portion of the cost of decommissioning the disabled Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI 2) nuclear generating plant. A lower court found the cost recovery improper because the plant was not and would not be "used and useful" in providing service to customers (see Irwin A. Popowsky v. Penn. PUC, 642 A.2d 648, 153 PUR4th 244 (Pa.Commw.Ct.
Twenty-five centuries ago, 300 steadfast Spartans, defending their sacred Greek turf, held up Xerxes's Persian army at the pass at Thermopylae just long enough for the Persians to lose the opportunity to conquer Greece. The world would have been quite different if the Spartans had just "given way."Contemporary state public utility regulators number just about that of those plucky Spartans.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a comprehensive settlement for Southern Natural Gas Co. (SNG), resolving the company's costs associated with its transition to Order 636. The settlement resolves
23 rate cases, reduces rates, and provides about
$146 million in customer refunds (Docket No. RP89-224-000, et al.). Protesting parties have been severed from the case.
The refunds, plus $9.1 million contributed by SNG, will serve as a credit toward customers' liability for SNG's cost of realigning gas supplies under Order 636.
Concluding an investigation of supply-cost recovery for the Associated Natural Gas Co., a natural gas distribution company (LDC), the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has found imprudent the LDC's long-term supply contract with an affiliated supplier, SEECO, Inc. The PSC excluded from adjustment clause recovery one-half the premium paid above spot-market prices under the contract for firm fixed-price swing-gas supply. The PSC said the LDC failed to properly evaluate other gas suppliers prior to entering into the contract or to document its gas purchasing practices.
State and federal regulators and the industries we regulate have donned life jackets. It's as if we are boating down the unexplored Grand Canyon with John Wesley Powell1 in 1869. We share a vague vision of what lies at the mouth of the canyon, but the rapids are treacherous and uncharted.
On the river, boatmen and women often scout the tough rapids from the shore. Back on the river, they carefully set themselves up at the proper position and angle, then apply deft, sometimes powerful, strokes at crucial moments.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has rejected a proposed amendment to the NEPOOL agreement that would have 1) facilitated negotiation of energy-only transactions by and among pool members, and 2) eliminated an otherwise applicable rate discount for transmitting energy involved in certain of those sales (Docket No. ER95-1466-000).A key aspect of NEPOOL operations is sharing of reserves. Each member is assigned a capacity responsibility equal to its load plus a share of the pool's combined reserve requirement.
Question: Will your commission still be around in the year 2000? If so, what will it look like? Are you restructuring your commission with the same fervor you devote to electricity, gas, and telecommunications?Response by Nancy McCaffree, Chair, Montana Public Service Commission:
As a regulator I have had the opportunity to listen to economists, energy planners, and other professional soothsayers. I have come to the conclusion that the only certainty pertaining to future forecasts is that they will be wrong 100 percent of the time.
Mid-American Energy Co., Illinois Power Co., Wisconsin Power & Light Co., Western Resources, Inc., IES Utilities, and Commonwealth Electric Co.
"We consider this a success story," said FERC chair Elizabeth A. Moler. "While we still have a long way to go, this is real progress.
Question: What is your relationship with the state legislature? Do lawmakers in your state show interest in utility regulation? Should PUCs work more closely with state legislatures?Response by Boyce Griffith, Chairman, West Virginia Public Service Commission:
The West Virginia PSC's relationship with the legislature is good. The West Virginia legislature has been active in utility regulation. I believe West Virginia utilities already work closely with the legislature and will continue to do so.