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Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 1996

Decontracting: Stranded Costs for Interstate Pipelines?

Rebecca A. McDonald

Competition from Order 636 has gas customers rethinking their firm capacity options.

Just when everyone thought we had put Order 636 behind us, up pops perhaps our greatest challenge yet: the turnback (or "decontracting") of firm capacity on interstate natural gas pipelines. This phenomenon, now emerging on a few major pipelines, such as Transwestern, El Paso, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, inspires different reactions.

Marketing & Competing

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

When Joel Singer headed the North American Gas Practice at Arthur D. Little, Inc., he helped large companies rethink business strategies to adapt to deregulating markets. Singer called his business model the "competitive strategy framework": "You do not reengineer your way into growth. You've got to figure out what's the growth strategy, then look at building business processes around that."

Singer's approach is becoming evident at Bay State Gas Co. in Westborough, MA.

Gas Rate Case Looks at Interruptible Sales Margin

Phillip S. Cross

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has authorized Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to increase rates by $8.9 million, with a return on equity (ROE) of 10.76 percent.

Gas Price Behavior: Gauging Links Between Hubs and Markets

John H. Herbert

Price disparities make hedging difficult (em all the more since futures close before bid week ends. Even so,

a strategy helps.

Gas markets in the United States are complicated, dynamic, and evolving. They offer significant commercial opportunities for some companies, commercial hazards for others.

Many companies find it difficult to estimate the price they will receive for gas the next year, month, week, or day.

PURPA Debate Inches Forward in House

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Divest yourself of generating plants or allow retail sales by competitors, and PURPA's mandatory purchase clause in section 210 will no longer hold.

That's the basic deal to be offered to investor-owned electric utilities under the Electric Power Competition Act of 1996 (H.R. 2929), a new bill to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) introduced by Rep. Edward J.

California Retains Affirmative Action Targets

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided not to increase voluntary goals for utility purchases from businesses owned by minorities and by women. The CPUC has also amended its rules on affirmative-action purchasing plans to state that "no penalty shall be imposed for failure of any utility to meet and/or exceed goals."

In 1988, the CPUC had set a goal that utilities must seek to purchase 20 percent of their goods and services from firms listed in the state-mandated program: 15 percent from minority firms and 5 percent from firms owned by women.

Competition, Convergence...and Cashflow?



APRIL 01, 1996


FERC Investigates ISOs

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on January 24 held a technical conference on independent system operators (ISOs) and power pools, as part of its electric transmission open-access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR). The FERC's question: Is it necessary in a competitive market for utilities to transfer control over transmission facilities to ISOs, and if so, what form should ISOs take? (18 CFR Part 35, Docket Nos. RM95-8-000 and RM94-7-001).

Low-usage Customers Bumped from Dsm Program

Phillip S. Cross

Despite complaints from customers, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved Florida Power Corp.'s plan to reduce incentive payments under existing load-management rate programs by one dollar, and

to limit eligibility to customers that use at least 600 kilowatt-hours. The PSC said the usage limitation would "restore the cost-effectiveness" of residential load management, which is designed to reduce peak demand, not energy usage.

The Economics and Politics of Western Coal

John Q. Anderson and Jerry C. Bartlett

Wyoming and Montana

are cracking Midwest coal markets,

despite local protectionism.

As pressures build steadily toward deregulation and increased competition between electric power generators, Western low-sulfur coal is emerging as the most economical fuel option for an increasing number of companies. The low cost of delivered fuel and avoidance of capital outlays offer attractive savings.