The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a move to full competition in the telecommunication intraLATA toll market. The PSC has concluded that its earlier concerns regarding uneconomic duplication of facilities and erosion of revenues for the state's local exchange carriers (LECs) no longer justified keeping the market closed. According to the PSC, competition among interexchange carriers (IXCs) for interLATA traffic had benefited consumers by producing over 100 certificated carriers competing in price and packaging of services.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released proposed rules for real-time information networks and standards of conduct, a "critical" supplement to its electric transmission open-access NOPR (Docket No. RM95-9-000). The FERC wants all utilities to set up information networks that give wholesale sellers and purchasers of electricity equal access to information concerning availability and prices.
The Senate subcommittee funding the Department of Energy (DOE) may use a carrot-and-stick approach this year to push DOE into finding a quicker solution to the long- and short-term nuclear waste crisis. The debate to get the waste stored safely underground promises an appropriations war that could rival the federal budget skirmish.
Current law authorizes only a permanent repository, not interim storage. Utilities, however, claim they're running out of room to cache their waste.
A 10-year wholesale power contract between Wisconsin Electric Power Co. (WEP) and the City of Geneva, IL, is raising eyebrows in Wisconsin. The result of competitive bidding, the contract sets rates some 20 percent below what the city paid WEP under a 1985 contract. WEP will pay $1 million to Geneva for an electric substation.
Michael W. Peters succeeds Raymond G. Kuhl as executive v.p. and g.m. at the new Michigan Electric Cooperative Association. Kuhl retired January 30. Peters was general counsel at the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives. MECA provides services to 14 co-ops.
MDU Resources Group, Inc. has elected Thomas S. Everist, a South Dakota businessman, to its board of directors.
Peter J. O'Shea, Jr. was named senior v.p. and general counsel at Consolidated Edison. O'Shea comes from ITT Corp., where he served as v.p.
PURCHASED POWER: RISK WITHOUT RETURN?
FEBRUARY 15, 1996
RATE UNBUNDLING: ARE WE THERE YET?
FEBRUARY 15, 1996
The merger voltage (I) is rising on the electric grid, but it remains to be seen which will win out: current (E) policy or resistance (R) to it.
It appears that The Washington Water Power Co. (WWP) and Sierra Pacific Power Co. (SPP), which were hoping for a quick OK on their proposed merger to form "Altus," may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of a perfunctory approval, the WWP/SPP merger now may become the test case for evolving merger policy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Perhaps the utilities should have seen it coming. In approving the Midwest Power Systems, Inc./Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co. merger, FERC Commissioners William L.
Recovery of stranded investment is clearly the central point of contention in the debate over utility competition. Customers oppose competition and utilities favor it (em for what appear to be clear-cut reasons. Recovery would delay the benefits of competition for customers, but would give utilities additional cash and temporary protection against competitive price pressures. The battle has unfortunately turned into a morality play that centers on the right to recover stranded investment.