In a letter to Ronald Russell, chair of the Electricity Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Larry Hobart, executive director of the American Public Power Association, argues that investor-owned utilities should not be allowed to keep rates confidential. Hobart says that rate secrecy destroys electric industry competition and that secret sales are a form of predatory pricing barred by antitrust law. He also claims that secrecy violates consumers' right to know if they are paying their fair share of utility costs.
At the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' quarterly meeting in Reno, NV, Edward M. Davis, president of NAC Holding Inc. and former president of the American Nuclear Energy Council, praised regulators for recognizing the need for a centralized interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel by 1998 as well as the need for development of a transportation infrastructure.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) is moving forward with a proposal to transfer jurisdiction over its mainline natural gas transmission facilities and storage system from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The natural gas pipelines at issue cross into the southwestern United States as well as Canada.
At a November 11 conference, "Canadian-Northeast Energy Trade: New Issues and Challenges," sponsored by the New England-Canada Business Council, Commissioner Donald F. Santa, Jr.
Commercial and industrial customers of Consumers Power Co. paid almost $500 million above their actual cost of service to subsidize residential customers over the past five years, claims John W. Clark, Consumers Power senior vice president. "The current subsidy of residential electric rates by Michigan industry is shortsighted and costs Michigan jobs," he told a business roundtable in Detroit.
In a final decision issued December 6, Commissioner Kris Sanda of the Minnesota Department of Public Service (DPS) found that Northern States Power Co. (NSP) threatened the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium (Docket No. G,E002/CC-94-426). The consortium claimed NSP said it would withhold a contract to perform home energy audits if its Conservation Improvement Program (CIP) did not support dry-cask nuclear waste storage at NSP's Prairie Island nuclear plant.
While acknowledging the threat, Sanda found no evidence that the newly implemented bid process was tainted.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) and Destec Energy Inc. have entered into the nation's first comprehensive transmission and services agreement between a utility and a power marketer. The deal will allow Destec's power marketing subsidiary, Destec Power Services Inc. (DPS), to pool electricity and wholesale it directly using PG&E's transmission lines. A request for plan approval was filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on December 6.
H.J. "Jim" Mellen, Jr. was named CEO of MDU Resources Group Inc. He will retain his current position as president. Mellen replaced John A. Schuchart, who will continue as chairman of the board.
Robert Anderson, Montana Public Service Commission member, was elected 104th president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Edward H. Salmon, member of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, was elected first v.p.
One of the great attractions of demand-side management (DSM) lies in its ability to accommodate one-stop shopping. In contrast to the traditional supply-side approach, DSM allows energy utilities to minimize price hikes and maintain environmental quality even while meeting increasing needs.
Nevertheless, some of the initial excitement has waned. For example, The Wall Street Journal reviewed 11 programs in late 1993 and found that 8 realized less than half their projected savings.
We begin the new year with a recap of the major rulings issued last year by state public utility commissions (PUCs).
Electricity took center stage as state commissioners began in earnest to examine rising competition in the power generation market. The seemingly endless number of privately sponsored seminars, conferences, and reports on the issue might suggest that regulators are following rather than leading on policy.