Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1996

Calif. Schools Buy from Energy One

A division of UtiliCorp United has entered into an agreement to provide heating and cooling services to 170 public school districts in southern California. The UtiliCorp marketing branch, Broad Street/Energy One, will supply natural gas at prices below that of the local utility. The participating school districts spend about $12 million a year for natural gas to heat and cool their school buildings. "This is a unique contract because it shows quite dramatically how everyone can benefit from deregulation," said Brooks Burton, Energy One vice president.

N.C. Approves Heat Pump R&D

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has authorized Duke Power Co. to implement a research and demonstration pilot project on residential geothermal heat-pump systems. The program is designed to overcome existing market barriers and will target new home builders with incentives of up to $3,500 per system to offset installation costs. According to Duke Power, program costs could be recovered from customers in future rate proceedings because participation will result in the installation of energy equipment that exceeds federal appliance efficiency standards.

IBM, NIPSCO Increase Productivity

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) and IBM have developed the Integrity/Customer Services System, which provides any customer service with one telephone call. Customer questions that previously required several transfers will now be handled by a single representative who has access to billing, service, and repair information. Property owners with several buildings or several tenants at one building will receive a combined bill, rather than separate bills for each meter.

Utilities to Monitor Cellular Radiation

Scientific studies have not indicated any

"obvious relationship" between prolonged lower-level radio frequency (RF) radiation exposure and increased disease in humans, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC's investigation into electromagnetic fields (EMF) and RF radiation at cellular radio telephone facilities found cellular power densities consistently below current industry exposure standards.

AEP Consolidates Nuclear Employees

American Electric Power Co. (AEP) plans to consolidate its Columbus, OH, nuclear generation management and support staff with the nuclear staff at its Donald C. Cook plant in Bridgman, MI. The relocation, scheduled for summer 1996, affects about 250 employees. About 50 positions

will be cut. Total employees in the AEP nuclear

organization will be reduced from about 1,300 to about 1,180, a 9.2-percent cut.


Moody's Finds CINergy Well Positioned

Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the credit ratings of PSI Energy Co. (PSI), Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. (CGE), and Union Light Heat & Power Co. The upgrades (em which affect about $3.8 billion in debt securities (em reflect strengthening financial position coupled with low business risks.


There are essentially two kinds of reliability: sufficient generating capacity, and sufficient transmission capacity. Although it often receives the most attention, generation accounts for only about 10 percent of reliability concerns. Even when there is a problem, there is usually time to prepare; demand can be reduced through voltage reductions, interruptible customers, public appeals, and as a last resort, rotating blackouts.

Just in Time: EDI for Gas Nominations

To listen to some, EDI stands for "Everybody's Doing It." But there's more to it than that. The natural gas market is not simply about electronic bulletin boards (EBBs) or electronic data interchange (EDI), which reconciles potentially inconsistent data, protocols, and trading customs among pipelines, shippers, distributors, and end users. Instead, it should be about solutions (em solutions that work across regions, across enterprises.

EDI is tough.

Financial News

Recovery of stranded investment is clearly the central point of contention in the debate over utility competition. Customers oppose competition and utilities favor it (em for what appear to be clear-cut reasons. Recovery would delay the benefits of competition for customers, but would give utilities additional cash and temporary protection against competitive price pressures. The battle has unfortunately turned into a morality play that centers on the right to recover stranded investment.