When Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. announced its competitive restructuring plan on October 6, 1995, it broke ranks with what had been a curiously united front against competition. The opposition had learned to genuflect before the altar of competition, but then fight doggedly to keep markets closed. This united front had implied that competition would produce largely the same impact on all utilities, but that is not true. Competition offers lucrative long-term opportunities for some utilities and potential disaster for others.
Niagara Mohawk Power
Close Close Percent 52-Wk 52-Wk Div Div Book P/E Last
Company Region 06/30/95 10/02/95 Change High Low Rate Yield Value Ratio 12 Mos.Electric UtilitiesAEP Company Inc. Midwest 35.13 36.13 2.85 36.50 30.50 2.40 6.64 22.68 14 2.63
Current utility marketing efforts focus almost entirely on large customers or "key" accounts, responding reactively to competitive threats such as self-generation, municipalization, and even geographic relocation. These threats have become all too real for many utilities. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. has lost 15 percent of its large industrial load in the last 15 years. The recently negotiated long-term power contracts between Detroit Edison and the Big Three automakers are a conscious response to the looming threat of retail wheeling.
Erroll B. Davis, Jr.
President & CEO
Wisconsin Power & Light Co.
WP&L advocates that the following steps be taken to create a level playing field for merchants entering the retail market:
s Distribution rates should be fully unbundled from retail sales tariff rates.
Stephen P. Reynolds
President & CEO
Pacific Gas Transmission Co.
Standardization has been an issue in every industry since the beginning of the Machine Age. As products continue to evolve, we need something like GISB to help find a prudent and appropriate level of standardization.
On June 6 the Energy Production and Regulation Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), held a hearing on legislation S. 708, The Electric Utility Ratepayer Act, which would repeal section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which mandates purchases from qualifying facilities (QFs) at avoided-cost rates.
Niagara Mohawk Power Co. (NiMo) has appealed a New York Public Service Commission (PSC) order upholding its purchased-power contract with Sithe Energies. In a series of decisions, the PSC had allowed Sithe to sell electricity from the 1,040-megawatt Independence plant to two NiMo customers: Alcan Rolled Products and Liberty Paperboard. In April 1994, the PSC ruled that if Sithe were to sell electricity at retail it would be lightly regulated.
Sithe/Independence Power Partners, L.P., an independent power producer (IPP), has filed a petition at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) alleging that Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NMP) has been overcharging for electric transmission. Sithe believes NMP has been calculating transmission losses on an incremental basis; FERC policy requires that transmission losses be calculated on an average basis.
The issue of the day is what to do with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). Whether the act will be repealed or merely revised is open to debate, but the consensus is that changes are forthcoming.
Ever since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its February order finding that the California commission had violated PURPA by requiring Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co.