Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1996

Perspective

If you attended any energy conference in the past year, even one on natural gas, I am confident that at least one panel was devoted to the restructuring of the electric industry.

Nuclear Fisticuffs: Senate Panel and DOE Go Around on Waste Storage

The Senate subcommittee funding the Department of Energy (DOE) may use a carrot-and-stick approach this year to push DOE into finding a quicker solution to the long- and short-term nuclear waste crisis. The debate to get the waste stored safely underground promises an appropriations war that could rival the federal budget skirmish.

Current law authorizes only a permanent repository, not interim storage. Utilities, however, claim they're running out of room to cache their waste.

A.G.A. Supports PUHCA Repeal

The board of directors of the American Gas Association (A.G.A.) has adopted a resolution asking Congress to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) and establishing PUHCA repeal as a high priority. A.G.A. says it will actively lobby Congress and the Clinton Administration for repeal. The association seeks to continue the tangible consumer benefits of deregulation and increased competition in the natural gas industry. The A.G.A.

Identifying Market Power in Electric Generation

To what extent should regulation yield to market forces in setting wholesale electric prices? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) posed this question when it sought comments on whether open transmission access would eliminate the need for anything like traditional rate regulation.

FERC Alters Affiliat Power Marketing Policy

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has revised its policy on potential abuses by affiliated power marketers, lifting restrictions on marketing transactions involving affiliates that do not have captive customers. The changes stem from a case involving USGen Power Services, L.P., an affiliate of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) that sought to market power to and from affiliated and nonaffiliated entities, including exempt wholesale generators (EWGs) and power marketers, but not to PG&E (Docket No.

FERC Wants Transmission Info on the Net

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released proposed rules for real-time information networks and standards of conduct, a "critical" supplement to its electric transmission open-access NOPR (Docket No. RM95-9-000). The FERC wants all utilities to set up information networks that give wholesale sellers and purchasers of electricity equal access to information concerning availability and prices.

Depreciation Reserve Soaks Up Stranded Investment

Save a Nickel, Save a Dime

Is One Merger as Good as Another?

In late November, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) put off immediate approval of the proposed merger between The Washington Water Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Resources (to form "Altus"), and set the case for hearing. The reason? The FERC doubted whether the merger would achieve operational efficiencies between the two noncontiguous utilities.