The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has upheld a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finding that the municipal preference in hydropower project relicensing cases did not apply to "orphaned" facilities. Facilities are considered orphaned if the current license holder files a notice of intent to apply for a relicense, but then fails to file a timely application.
The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has turned down a request to create a special rate for backup service to qualifying facilities (QFs) with dispatchable contracts. The PSC made the ruling while reviewing a request by Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. for permission to increase its rates for backup services provided to customers with onsite generation, primarily QFs. The utility had withdrawn the proposed rates, but only after the parties to the case claimed that the rate proposal was designed to kill competition, especially from smaller QF projects.
Gas local distribution companies (LDCs) in Wisconsin must provide unbundled balancing services for transportation customers at cost-based rates under new rules adopted by state regulators. The new rules came out of a Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) investigation of LDC tariff changes required as a result of pipeline restructuring at the federal level.
The PSC ruled that balancing is required where an LDC is served by a pipeline with balancing provisions that contain penalties that default to the LDC, and hence to system sales customers.
In setting utility conservation goals, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to permit the state's electric utilities to eliminate demand-side management (DSM) programs that increase rates for nonparticipating customers.
The Oregon Court of Appeals has upheld rules implemented by state regulators requiring local exchange telephone carriers (LECs) to offer physical collocation to enhanced service providers. The court emphasized that the complaint brought by GTE Northwest Inc, an LEC, was limited to a "facial challenge" of the open network architecture (ONA) rules under state public utility law.
A five-year, performance-based regulation plan for New York Telephone Co. (NYT) has been signed by the New York State Public Service Commission staff and 15 other parties. The plan calls for NYT to improve service quality, reduce prices, and foster competition in its service territory. NYT agreed to relinquish its right to file for general rate increases, but in exchange will receive increased regulatory flexibility.
The plan was negotiated over a two-year period and the PSC will review it over the next several months.
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) has authorized Northern Indiana Public Service Co. to recover its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 636 pipeline transition charges under a rate design proposal that divides the charges between sales and transportation customers. Under the approved recovery plan, the gas local distribution company (LDC) will pass to all ratepayers on a volumetric basis those transition charges related to gas supply realignment and stranded investment.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has reaffirmed an earlier ruling permitting telecommunications utilities subject to price-cap regulation to use accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions (PBOPs) under SFAS 106. It also warned that it may change its existing policy, which allows recovery of the costs of the accounting change as an exogenous cost under the price-cap form of regulation. The CPUC explained that "strong arguments can be made" that PBOP costs are within the utilities' control and simply normal costs of doing business.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) will require Energy Michigan (em a nonprofit corporation whose members promote expanded use of cogeneration, IPPs, and waste-to-energy projects (em to provide Consumers Power Co. with information concerning the extent of existing and proposed self-generation projects that pose a competitive threat. The PSC directed Energy Michigan to answer interrogatories served by Consumers after Energy Michigan intervened in a proceeding concerning a new "competitive tariff" proposed by the utility.
The Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) intends to open a proceeding to consider the effect of fuel-adjustment clauses on utility incentives to reduce customer costs, finding that the passing through to customers of generating fuel costs may create a disincentive to supply-side efficiency.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, amending section 111(d) of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, requires states to consider electric utility investment in efficiency improvements at generation, transmission, and distribution facilities by October 24, 1995.