Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).
Electric Restructuring. The Maryland PSC approved restructuring plans for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. and Delmarva Power & Light Co., requiring the utilities to implement customer choice for all customers by July 1, 2000 - as much as two years earlier than called for under the state's restructuring law. That law set deadlines of Jan. 1, 2001, for industrial and business customers and July 2, 2002, for all residential users. Other features of the plans include:
* Metering. Competitive metering will become available in BG&E's service area for large customers (peak loads in excess of 300 kilowatts) on July 1, 2000, with all other customers eligible on April 1, 2002.
* Generation Assets. Delmarva would sell 2,200 MW of nuclear and coal-fired generating capacity to third parties, transferring unsold assets to an unregulated affiliate. BG&E would sell or drop all its generation, including the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant - a reversal of its previously stated intention.
* Residential Rates. BG&E would cut rates an average of 6.5 percent beginning on the July 1 start date, and freeze them for six years. Delmarva residential customers would get a 7 percent reduction and a four-year freeze.