Fortnightly Magazine - August 1996


Professor Peter Navarro, who teaches economics and public policy at the University of California at Irvine, writes in the Harvard Business Review (January-February 1996) that "[t]he deregulation of the electric utility industry represents an important opportunity to enhance the country's competitiveness and improve the standard of living for its citizens. ...

N.C. Assigns New Gas-service Areas

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has made preliminary assignments of unfranchised gas-service areas to local distribution companies (LDCs), pursuant to a 1995 state law. An earlier NCUC order sought applications from LDCs (see, Re Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity for Natural Gas Service, 164 PUR4th 591 (N.C.U.C. 1995)).

First Nonjurisdictional Utility Uses Order 888 "Safe-Harbor"

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 29 found that a nonjurisdictional utility's voluntary open-access tariff, with certain modifications, would meet the electric transmission comparability standards established by Order 888. In the first case of its kind, the South Carolina Public Service Authority (SCPSA) has agreed to satisfy the reciprocity requirement that it offer nondiscriminatory transmission services to obtain open-access service from public utilities (Docket No. NJ96-1-000).

SCPSA submitted the open-access tariff before Order 888 came out.

Utility Rate Filings Owe No Explanation to Investors

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected claims that Washington Energy Co., corporate parent of Washington Gas Co., a local distribution company (LDC), committed securities fraud by failing to fully explain that its current application for a rate increase was based in part on expense requests and accounting methods rejected by state regulators in the past.