UTILITY HOUSE CALLS. Michigan Gov. John Engler (R) signed into law a bill making it a felony to impersonate a utility employee to enter private property for criminal purposes. The new law calls for those convicted to be imprisoned for not more than two years and to pay a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.
ELECTRIC RESTRUCTURING. Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar (R) signed into law an electric restructuring bill for the state. Edgar noted that concerns over the bill were addressed by the state's two largest utilities, Commonwealth Edison and Illinois Power Co. The companies agreed not to sell any power plants before a rate cut becomes effective Aug. 1. The bill, signed in December, calls for a 20-percent residential rate decrease for the two utilities; 15 percent on Aug. 1 and 5 percent on May 1, 2002.
MIDWEST ELECTRIC FUTURES. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange asked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to approve its listing of electric futures and options contracts reflecting the value of electricity in seven midwestern states and two Canadian provinces. The contracts would be based on electric delivered in Minneapolis-St.Paul at facilities owned by Northern States Power. One contract would reflect the value of 736 megawatt-hours of peak electricity; the other would reflect off-peak deliveries of 368 Mwh.
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