Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1996

PacifiCorp to Buy Australian Utility

PacifiCorp's wholly-owned subsidiaries, PacifiCorp Holdings, Inc. and PacifiCorp Australia Holdings Pty Ltd., have agreed to purchase Powercor, an electric utility in southeast Australia, for about $1.6 billion. Powercor is one of five distribution companies being sold by the State of Victoria in its first stage of privatizing distribution and generation utilities. Moody's Investors Service has placed the ratings of PacifiCorp and PacifiCorp Holdings on review for possible downgrade.

Merge N.Y. Utilities, Says Sithe

Sithe Energies Inc. claims that its restructuring proposal, "Energizing New York," would save ratepayers $15 billion over 10 years, while creating a favorable environment during the transition to competition.

Interstate Energy Corp.: A Three-way Tie

In the first three-way merger in utility history, IES Industries Inc., Interstate Power Co., and WPL Holdings, Inc. propose to combine as Interstate Energy Corp. The companies project merger savings of about $700 million over a 10-year period. If approved by regulators and shareholders, the proposal would result in a corporation with market capitalization of about $2 billion, and assets of almost $4 billion. Interstate would rank 34th among U.S. utility holding companies, based on 1994 revenues.

Columbia Gas Reorganization Approved

The Chapter 11 reorganization plans for The Columbia Gas System, Inc. (CGS) and Columbia Gas Transmission Corp., its principal pipeline subsidiary, were confirmed on November 15 by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Helen Balick. The reorganization plans call for a distribution of about $2.3 billion to pay debt owed by the corporation prior to its Chapter 11 filing, plus another $1.1 billion in interest on that debt. According to CGS chairman Oliver G.

Perspective

The decision in September by Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr., millionaire businessman sans political experience, to launch a bid for the White House in 1996 prompts comparison with another millionaire businessman and political neophyte, Wendell L. Willkie, who defied conventional wisdom 55 years ago and won the GOP nomination to oppose Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 Presidential election.

Forbes himself relishes the comparison.

Laissez Ies Bons Temps Rouler: NARUC's 107th Convention

Change was the operative word this year in New Orleans at the annual gathering the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Bob Anderson, Montana commissioner and outgoing president of NARUC, cited global competitiveness, technology and a political swing toward state's rights in his opening address. "State commissions have to respond to these powerful forces," he warned.

FERC Approves Market-Based Gas Storage Rates

Finding that Enron Storage Co. lacks market power, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved its request for market-based storage rates for firm and interruptible natural gas service under section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, subject to conditions (Docket No. PR94-2-000). Enron proposed that rates for individual storage services be determined by the marketplace and agreed to by itself and the customer through arm's-length negotiations.

Customer Forum

Every year, Public Utilities Fortnightly holds a forum electric utility executives. And another for gas utility executives. And another for state regulators.

This year we decided to ask utility customers what they think.DuPont, the country's number one chemical company, operates in 70 countries. It is, perhaps, best known for its Teflon products, but it also makes refrigerants, pigments, fibers (Lycra), nylon resins, electronics, medical products, and many other products.

FERC Approves Open-access Tariffs

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted proposed open-access, point-to-point, and network transmission service tariffs filed by Tampa Electric Co. (TE), effective November 14 (Docket No. ER95-1775-000) and subject to the outcome of its open-access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (mega-NOPR) proceeding. TE says the tariffs substantially conform to the pro forma tariffs proposed under the mega-NOPR, and were calculated using the methods outlined there.

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