Idaho Power Seeks ADITC Tie-In

Idaho Power (IP) has filed a notice of settlement with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission (PUC), its first step toward gaining approval to accelerate amortization of accumulated deferred investment tax credits (ADITC) when year-end return on equity (ROE) falls below 11.5 percent. If the PUC agrees, the agreement would remain in effect from 1995 through 1999.

Recovering Local Distribution Costs

In electric power, telecommunications, water, and natural gas, the costs of local distribution make up a significant share of the cost of providing services. For any network or system, the cost of distribution facilities is largely or entirely independent on usage; i.e., such costs are largely invariant to the number of phone calls, kilowatts, British thermal units (BTUs), or gallons that customers use.

Flexibility: Key to Success When Outsourcing Information Technology

In the utility industry's brave new world of deregulation, information technology (IT) (em and, specifically, "outsourcing" (em has acquired an entirely new meaning.

IT has become strategic. And important. So important that utility companies are seeking outside expertise to help them leverage technology to conduct business more efficiently, help grow revenues, and hone their edge in the new competitive world. Time has become an unaffordable luxury.

Cooperative Outsourcing: Securing Value from Information Technology

As competitive pressures push utilities to look for new ways to do business, outsourcing the information technology (IT) function becomes increasingly attractive. By contracting for outside IT services, utilities can reduce costs and increase efficiency.

The decision to outsource, however, now goes beyond cost-cutting considerations. Companies are just as likely to turn to outsourcing when they want to concentrate on new business opportunities or dramatically change their overall structure.

LDC Shifts Stranded Demand Costs

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has authorized Northern Minnesota Utilities, a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to insulate shareholders from the effects of losing a large firm sales customer by reallocating associated demand costs among remaining firm customer classes. It allowed the LDC to pass the increased costs through its purchased adjustment clause, finding that the utility was now alerted to the problem and had taken action to protect itself and its ratepayers from stranded costs caused by customers switching to interruptible transport service.

Industrial Customer Pushes for Municipalization

The Common Council of Salem, NJ, has voted to study the feasibility of creating a municipal electric system that would compete directly with Atlantic City Electric Co. (ACE), the city's present electricity supplier. The proposal under discussion would establish a new utility in Salem; the city would not condemn ACE facilities nor prohibit ACE from operating within city limits.

Over the next few months, Salem will review power-supply options, solicit statements of interest to supply electricity to the city, and examine transmission and distribution requirements.

Electric Restructuring: An Urgent Proposal

Technological advances in electric generation and telecommunications make utility competition both possible and inevitable. These economic forces will eventually break down the regulatory structure of the electric industry. However, public policy should play a crucial role in molding and nurturing competition.In recent months, regulators in a majority of the states have opened proceedings to study electric competition.

Columbia Gas Seeks Market Rates

As part of a request to increase annual revenues by approximately $147 million, Columbia Gas Transmission has asked the Federal Energy

Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve a set of market-based rates for short-term firm transportation, interruptible transportation, temporary capacity release, and storage services (Docket No. RP95-408).

Central Illinois Proposes Direct-access Pilots

Citing a need to prepare for the emerging competitive marketplace, Central Illinois Light Co. has volunteered to experiment with direct access for all of its customers. The utility has asked the Illinois Commerce Commission to consider two separate pilot programs that will allow customers to purchase some or all of their power requirements from other suppliers.