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Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1996

Generation: Big or Small?

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Generation: Big orDistributed power may turn

heads, but economics points

to central plants.

By Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

By 2010, distributed power technologies will make up as much as 30 percent of new electric generation.

Nuclear Waste Bill Heads to House

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

With President Clinton and the Department of Energy (DOE) staunchly opposed, the House of Representatives was expected to return September 4 from August recess to take up its version of a nuclear waste disposal bill that passed in the Senate on July 31 by a vote of 63-37.

Senate bill 1936 and its amendments call for a temporary storage facility at the Nevada nuclear test site near Yucca Mountain before the end of 1999.

Order 636 Upheld, with Remands

Lori A. Burkhart

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on July 16 upheld Order 636, which required unbundling of natural gas pipeline sales and transportation services, but remanded at least six issues to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for further explanation (United Distr. Cos. v. FERC, No. 92-1485, July 16, 1996).

The Value of Storage: Today Gas, Tomorrow Electricity?

Philip R. O'Connor and Erik B. Jacobson

Open-access economics make stored energy something you can bank on. For natural gas and electric power.You can't store electricity, right?

The old shibboleth to some extent is literally true. The electric industry appears different from the natural gas industry in that demand must be matched immediately with production. No viable location comes to mind to put away some of that extra power until it is needed. But literal truth is not necessarily the whole story.

PJM to Go for ISO

Lori A. Burkhart

Nine of the 10 electric utility members (excluding PECO Energy Co.) of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Interconnection have filed agreements and transmission tariffs at the FERC, seeking to replace the pool with a competitive power pool that would set a next-hour spot wholesale power price (to vary by location), but also allow bilateral trading.

The majority proposal would set up an independent system operator (ISO). The tariff would support poolwide open access and comparable transmission service.


Bruce W. Radford

On January 1, 1998, California will "deregulate" the state's electric utilities. The Western Power Exchange (WEPEX) and the independent system operator (ISO) will start up, creating an open market for wholesale power.

Elizabeth A.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

DSM: Gas vs. Electric. Plan is approved for City of Tallahassee municipal electric and gas utility to use demand-side management to cut electric demand and use (predominantely during winter peak) through low-interest loans for natural gas equipment, even though plan will not pass RIM (rate impact measure) test. Docket Nos. 930559 et al. Order No. PSC-96-0716-FOF-EG, May 28, 1996 (Fla.P.S.C.).

Foreign Acquisitions.


Vera B. Claussen has been elected the first female president in the American Public Power Association's 56-year history. Claussen is commissioner of Public Utility District Number Two of Grant County in Euphrata, WA. Other new APPA officers include president-elect Thaine J. Michie, g.m., Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins, CO; and vice president Walter R. McGrath, g.m., Braintree, MA, Electric Light Department.

The United States Energy Association has three new officers: P.J.

States Differ on Residential Gas "Subsidy"

Phillip S. Cross

In two recent natural gas rate cases, regulators have split over the question of alleged rate subsidies in favor of residential customers.

In the first, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a proposal by Providence Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to redesign its rates to remedy "the ongoing subsidization of the residential class by commercial and industrial customers."

In Minnesota, however, the state PUC rejected a similar plan by Minnegasco to use an embedded-cost allocation method to shift the revenue bu