This New Congress Means Business

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as a minority party, House Republicans are ready to slash and burn what they see as a bloated federal bureaucracy. The next two years will demonstrate just how powerful the legislative branch can be when both House and Senate are controlled by a strong-willed party on a mission. Electric industry officials seem optimistic, but cautious, about this Republican revolution.

PoolCo, Bilateral Trading, and Technology

Alex Henney is associated with Energy Economic Engineering Ltd. in London, and has consulted in many countries. As early as February 1987, Henney advocated competitively restructuring the electricity supply industry and incorporating a pool as a real-time spot market. He is the author of A Study of the Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales.

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Last year, the Norwegian Market Co. decided to stick with bilateral trading and a spot market.

Who Will Regulate PoolCo-the FBI?

Eugene P. Coyle works as an energy analyst for Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN), a consumer advocacy group in California that claims 30,000 members.

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The January mini-forum failed to discuss a key underlying assumption made by PoolCo proponents. The assumption is that price competition will really exist in tomorrow's wholesale electric market.

Hawaii Oks PBOP Recovery

After considering the matter in several proceedings since 1991, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has decided to permit the state's utilities to include in rates the full cost of switching from cash to accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions (PBOPs) under SFAS 106. The PUC rejected proposals to require the utilities to alter certain SFAS 106 financial reporting requirements (em for example, extending the amortization period for recovery of PBOP transition costs from 20 to 40 years.

Ohio Modifies LDC Curtailment Regulations

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has modified its natural gas transportation guidelines for local distribution companies (LDCs) to reflect changes in the industry under FERC Order 636. The PUC said its revisions would give customers a clearer understanding of service rights and curtailment procedures under the restructuring, and reflected the fundamental principle that each gas service must be offered on a comparable basis (em whether provided under bundled or unbundled tariffs.

Alternative Regulation Plan Loweers Rates for LEC

The Tennessee Public Service Commission (PSC) has finalized an $8.7-million rate reduction for United Telephone-Southeast, Inc. under an alternative regulation plan in place since 1991. The rate reduction is the first under the plan's three-year earnings review procedures.

Ohio Approves LDC Transition Cost Plan

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a settlement agreement governing how National Gas & Oil Corp. will recover all pipeline transition cost charges from its customers. National, a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), will recover supply restructuring charges through both the sales tariff transition cost account (79 percent) and the transportation transition cost account (21 percent). It will recover gas cost charges from sales customers through its gas cost recovery mechanism. Re National Gas & Oil Corp. Case No. 94-1549-GA-UNC, Dec.

Appeals Court Faults Pipeline Return Award

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has overturned a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gas pipeline order, finding that the FERC had failed to support its decision to use a hypothetical capital structure in determining the pipeline's revenue requirement. In setting rates for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, the FERC found the corporate parent's equity ratio of 16.27 percent abnormally low.

Ohio Oks Toledo Edison Merger

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a merger agreement between Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison Co. The utilities, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the same holding company (Centerior Energy Corp.), argued that the PUC had no statutory authority to review the details of the merger and should either dismiss or approve the application.