CATV Exclusive Franchise Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1992 (Cable Act) does not invalidate existing exclusive franchises for local cable television service. The case involved a Tennessee municipality that sought to establish its own cable system, claiming that the Cable Act abrogated the exclusive franchise it had previously granted to a private company.

Court Reject FCC's Flexible Pricing Again

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been rebuffed yet again by the courts in its effort to relax tariff filing requirements for nondominant common carriers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit thwarted the FCC's latest attempt, rejecting proposed rules that would permit the nondominant carriers to file a range of rates rather than fixed rates tied to a schedule of charges.

The courts had earlier overturned a series of FCC rulings.

Marketing & Competing

Increasing competition in the electric power industry is likely to entail a little-recognized major complication (em greater difficulty in siting transmission lines. The stakes will often be greater, the opposition could be stronger, and both put a premium on finding a process that can win public acceptance cost-effectively.

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.

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.

FERC's Santa on "New Power Industry"

Commissioner Donald F. Santa, Jr., offered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) view of the "New Power Industry" at the 3rd annual electricity conference sponsored by the Western Energy and Communications Association and the Los Angeles Power Producers Association in Irvine, CA. Santa acknowledged current trends toward disaggregation, but said he doubted that a single, uniform, nationwide industry structure would emerge.

Senate Seeks to Open Telecom

Republican members of the Senate Commerce Committee have released an outline of draft telecommunications legislation that would remove all state or local barriers to entry for telecommunications service. The legislation would allow any regional Bell operating company (RBOC) to apply to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer interexchange services (em subject to generic safeguards, such as a separate subsidiary requirement. If the FCC certifies that interconnection/opening requirements have been satisfied, the RBOC request must be granted.


Time was that operating changes drove communications changes, and employee acceptance was a given. The changes now permeating the utility industry, however, require us to think, and operate, differently. Operating and communications changes need to unfold simultaneously. If communications is constantly playing catch up to changing operations, employees begin to lose motivation and effectiveness. Eventually, customers notice and begin to complain.

What Utilities Should Expect from Competitive Intelligence

Electric utilities are informationally dysfunctional. When we surveyed electric utility managers from around the country, we found a general consensus: Individual employees may possess vital information, but typically they do not know what to do with it. They don't understand why it's important or who may need it.

Idaho Seeks Improvements in LEC Regulatory Plan

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has decided to continue its five-year-old revenue sharing plan for U S WEST Communications, a local exchange telephone carrier, for one year. It initiated a workshop to develop a new regulatory plan for the carrier, and also proposed specific quality-of-service standards and penalties due to a recent decline in service quality.