Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 1996

Joules

The U.S. Department of Energy will make $15 million in grants available to those willing to buy early versions of market-ready fuel cells. DOE will provide $1,000 per kilowatt, or up to a third of costs. Assistance will target buyers that want to purchase between 100 and 3,000 kilowatts. The first round of awards will be made by September 30. The application package is available on the Internet at http:/www.metc.doe.gov/business/ solicita.html. A diskette version (WordPerfect 5.2) may be requested by fax: (304) 285-4683, attn: R. Diane Manilla, M.S.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Primergy Merger. Michigan regulators have OK'd the merger between Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and Northern States Power Co. The settlement assumes about 2 percent in cost savings on combined Michigan revenues, and imposes a four-year moratorium on rate hikes. Case No. U-10913, April 10, 1996 (Mich.P.S.C.).

Gas Pipeline Certification. Michigan certifies Thunder Bay Pipeline Co., L.L.C.

Ohio Recommends $1.25 Billion Write-off for Centerior

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has granted rate increases for Toledo Edison Co. and the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (subsidiaries of Centerior Energy Corp.) in the full amount requested, but at the same time has recommended that Centerior remove from its regulatory books $1.25 billion in electric utility assets over a five-year period.

Orange & Rockland Asks for Choice

Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. (O&R) has asked the New York

Public Service Commission (PSC) to approve a rate settlement that includes a proposal for a retail wheeling pilot program, "PowerPick" (Case 95-E-0491).

PowerPick would allow certain large industrial customers to choose their electric suppliers starting June 1, 1996. All other customer classes would be eligible to participate as of January 1, 1997; however, residential participation will be capped at 1,500 customers.

Wellhead Prices Drop; Electric Growth Slows

The Energy Information Administration has released its second-quarter Short-Term Energy Outlook projections. Some of its predictions for gas and electric markets:

s Normal temperatures and continued economic growth will raise total annual gas demand in 1996 to a high of 21.9 trillion cubic feet. In 1997, demand is expected to rise 2.7 percent, to 22.5 trillion cubic feet.

PUC Uphelds Selective Rate Discounting

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has declined as a general policy to require electric utilities that award a rate discount to an individual customer to offer the same discount to the customer's competitors.

The case involved Central Maine Power Co., which had negotiated a discount with Southern Container Corp. under its alternative rate plan. Union Camp Corp., a competitor in the corrugated box business, had then asked for a comparable discount, complaining of discrimination.

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