RATE UNBUNDLING: ARE WE THERE YET?
FEBRUARY 15, 1996
"obvious relationship" between prolonged lower-level radio frequency (RF) radiation exposure and increased disease in humans, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC's investigation into electromagnetic fields (EMF) and RF radiation at cellular radio telephone facilities found cellular power densities consistently below current industry exposure standards.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has asserted jurisdiction over a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) to transfer personnel and assets from an existing ratepayer-funded energy-efficiency program to an unregulated affiliate.
As I began to write this column, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was slated in less than 30 minutes (this time, for real) to unveil its final proposed plan to restructure the electric utility industry. After the deed was done, on Wednesday, December 20, I logged on to ftp.cpuc.ca.gov and downloaded the text of the two opinions, issued by California commissioners Daniel Fessler and Jessie Knight.
Having committed to employing competition in the telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC) market to elicit the broadest range of service offerings while ensuring fair rates, state commissions are now establishing regulations to put the new policies into effect. Current investigations focus on the proper costing and rate-setting methods for interconnection and transport services among newly competing carriers.
As regulators continue to investigate industrywide restructuring as an answer to regional electric rate disparities and calls from large consumers for price reductions, the trend of dealing with the problem through rate discounting also remains strong. Regulators have taken steps to ensure that shareholders bear at least some of the risk for revenue shortfalls that might result under the new contracts.
Susan F. Tierney, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, has joined The Economics Resource Group, Inc. as a managing consultant.
UGI Corp. has hired William D. Katz as v.p.-corporate development. He succeeds R. Paul Grady, now v.p.-sales/
operations of UGI's AmeriGas Propane subsidiary.
Stephen D. Chesebro', Tenneco Energy's CEO, was promoted to chairman. Edward J. Casey, Jr. joins the company as president and COO.
Deregulate in haste; repent at leisure. That's what they say about love, marriage, and ratemaking. Yet, in the utility business the regrets are pouring in (em sometimes from the same people who sent out the invitations.
For example, at the end of November, a week before I put fingers to keyboard, the FERC was shocked to discover that the proposed Altus merger between The Washington Water Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co.
In a little over a year, the electric utility industry has seen six significant mergers.1 This trend toward consolidation most likely will increase as the industry becomes more competitive.
State regulators continue to update methods of pricing telecommunications services, using price caps for local exchange carriers (LECs) while expanding existing pricing flexibility for interexchange carriers (IXCs). The emerging trend toward inviting competitors to serve the local market, including basic local exchange service, also continues. Some of the activity mirrors ongoing developments at the federal level, such as major regulatory reforms under debate in the Congress and court-supervised modifications to existing service restrictions stemming from the AT&T divestiture.