Average electricity prices are expected to remain virtually unchanged through 2010, rising a scant 0.4 cents per kilowatt-hour, according to the Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) "Annual Energy Outlook 1995" (DOE/EIA-0383(95)). If the forecast holds true, the average household electric bill should increase by only $3 to $4 per month. Good news for residential consumers; more pressure for utilities. The flat forecast reflects low projections for major fuel prices, which break with previous EIA forecasts. EIA administrator Jay E.
Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1995
You can look at the title in two ways: (a) "The sky is falling," or (b) "There's nothing new under the sun." But both views are wrong. Let me explain.
No one doubts that state public utility commissions (PUCs) must change. But we need not throw up our hands in despair or smile and pretend we've seen it all before. Yes, PUCs have seen major changes before. The 1930s expanded PUC authority from an advisory, sunshine role to serious oversight.
Citing credit uncertainties stemming from impending deregulation, Moody's Investors Service has posted negative ratings outlooks for the U.S. electric, telecommunications, and natural gas industries (with the exception of the pipeline segment). Moody's acknowledges, however, that the impact of deregulation will depend on market maturity, relative cost structure, degree of integration, and regulatory flexibility.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved increases in the rate of return on equity (ROE) for the state's largest energy utilities, citing increasing interest rates and perceptions of risks in the electric industry. The CPUC approved increases of 70 to 120 basis points above the 1994 baseline ROE figure of 11 percent.
It explained that since utilities' ROEs were reduced as interest rates dropped, they should increase with the general cost of capital.
The interim consultant's report on the Dominion Resources/Virginia Power (DRI/VP) merger identifies problems with the holding company structure.
DRI/VP claim that the report's corporate structure recommendations conflict substantially with their settlement agreement, and appear to impose unique and extraordinary constraints on corporate governance.
A recent rate order by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PUC) granting West Penn Power Co. a $53.7-million increase has generated some disagreement between the state's utility commissioners on the issue of rate of return on equity (ROE). Although the PUC reduced the utility's proposed ROE from 12.5 to 11.5 percent, PUC chairman David W. Rolka and vice chairman Joseph Rhodes, Jr. both claimed the ROE was too high.
The Massachusetts Supreme Court has vacated and remanded a Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) decision on environmental externalities, agreeing with Massachusetts Electric Co. that the DPU had no authority to require electric utilities to select new power sources based on externality values that encompass costs ratepayers otherwise would not incur.
UtiliCorp United has announced a growth-oriented strategy that will introduce free-market concepts such as supplier choice and low-cost pricing to customers across the United States.
According to UtiliCorp chairman, president, and CEO Richard C. Green, Jr., the utility plans to use future mergers and partnerships to bring competitively priced energy products and services to consumers nationwide.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) plans to issue interim rules in June 1995 allowing competitors to seek authority to offer local telephone service in the state. (The CPUC also recently completed a plan to open the "local toll" market to competition.) The CPUC directed all interested parties to seek a settlement of the issues arising under its plan to move the local market to full competition by 1997.