Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 1996

Study Calls Muni Trend "Traditional"

Coopers & Lybrand has released its 1996 Electric Municipalization Review, which examines the two municipalizations completed since the Energy Policy Act of 1992: Broken Bow, OK, and Bozrah, CT.

Broken Bow, which began operating in 1995, serves the new six-megawatt (Mw) load of one industrial customer and owns no electric facilities; Public Service Co. of Oklahoma serves town residents. The Town of Bozrah had been served by a privately held corporation, Bozrah Light & Power (BL&P), whose owner was retiring and wanted to sell.

N.C. Denies Self-generation Exemption

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has rejected a request by proponents of a plan to provide electricity and process steam for a large industrial electric user in the state for a declaration that the plan would not subject the participants to regulation as public utilities under state law.

Under the proposal, National Spinning Co., Inc., a current purchaser of over $3 million in annual industrial electric services from Carolina Power & Light Co., would build facilities to gasify wood waste, produce steam, and generate up to seven megawatts of electricity in partn

Prudential Predicts Revenue Losses for All Utilities

In a recent report, A Free Market for Power Would Mean Revenue Losses for All Utilities (em But Some Would Suffer More Than Others, Prudential Securities simulated a competitive electricity market (em assuming that all industrial and commercial customers would be able to choose their electric supplier by 1998 (em to find out how a completely free market for power would affect utility revenues, earnings, and dividends.

The competitive risk study statistically measured marginal costs, then created a simulated spot-market electricity price for each of the 11 geographical reg

N.Y. Relaxes Regulation of AT&T

Finding the state's long-distance telecommunications market sufficiently competitive, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has relaxed price controls for AT&T Communications of New York, Inc., an interexchange carrier (IXC) currently regulated as a dominant provider of long-distance services. Under the settlement agreement, AT&T will freeze price floors and ceilings for basic long-distance service (message toll service, or "MTS") for five years and give customers a one-time rate reduction to reflect lower access charges AT&T must pay to local exchange carriers in the state.

Competing Bids Filed for Cajun

Ralph Mabey, trustee for Cajun Electric Power Co-op. in its bankruptcy proceeding, has filed a reorganization plan at the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge, LA. Mabey chose a bid from NRG Energy, Inc. and Zeigler Coal Holding Co.: about $1.1 billion in cash to purchase most of Cajun's nonnuclear assets. However, that offer faces a competing bid filed by the Cajun Electric Members Committee, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SEP), and Gulf States Utilities.

QF Fails to Raise Avoided Cost Rates

The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has ruled that it is preempted by federal law from modifying the avoided-cost rate in a purchased-power agreement implemented under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).

The developers of a qualifying cogeneration facility (QF), Bituminous Power Partners, L.P., had asked the PSC to raise the contract rate for avoided energy in its purchased-power contract with Monongahela Power Co.

Moody's: NiMo Bankruptcy Possible

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the long-term credit ratings of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NiMo) on April 25, citing the utility's "limited progress" in achieving the goals set forth in its "PowerChoice" proposal, among other concerns.

Virginia Rejects IntraLATA Competition

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has rejected a request from Bell Atlantic-Virginia, Inc., a telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC), to reclassify intraLATA message toll service (MTS) as competitive under its new alternative regulation plan.

Jury Awards EMF Damages Discrimination

For the first time, monies have been awarded in an electromagnetic field (EMF) suit. Although it decided that a high-power underground electric transmission line did not cause cancer in Atlantic Electric Co. (AE) customer John Altoonian, a six-person jury has ordered the utility to pay him about $760,000 in damages for lost wages and emotional distress. The first jury was hopelessly deadlocked; the current alternate panel found AE unintentionally negligent. AE calls the award "confusing" and plans to appeal. (em LB

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

States Prepare for Federal Telecom Mandates

To accommodate requirements imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has issued a set of procedural requirements governing requests for interconnection services. According to the NCUC, the federal timeline for compulsory arbitration of differences arising during the course of interconnection negotiations could leave as little as 85 days to render a decision in each case.