A new group, the Independent Power Suppliers of ERCOT (IPSE), has formed to speak for nonutility power suppliers that operate within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The stated mission of IPSE is "to promote the reliable operation of power systems within ERCOT, in which a competitive, environmentally responsible and profitable independent electric power industry can flourish." Membership is open to all nonutility generators (NUGs), cogenerators, and power marketers.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) administrative law judge Jerome Nelson has found the proposed merger between Central and South West Corp. (CSW) and the bankrupt El Paso Electric Co. (EPE) consistent with the public interest (Docket Nos. EC94-7-000 and ER94-898-000). However, Judge Nelson recommended that approval be subject to a FERC decision on a number of comparability issues. (The FERC had issued an earlier opinion imposing comparability as part of the merger deal, but excepting ERCOT members.
Our 13th annual electric rate-case survey covers electric rate orders issued between
April 1, 1994, and March 31, 1995.
The survey tabulates rates of return on common equity (ROE) approved by state public utility commissions (PUCs) in major electric rate orders, but also includes some cases in which rate of return was not directly at issue, or where a rate adjustment resulted from a settlement agreement.
NARUC Goes on Record
In a recent article, "Why Taxes Do Distort Emissions Trading" (Feb.15, 1995), Stanley I. Garnett II, chief financial officer of Allegheny Power System, Inc. discusses a legislative proposal currently promoted by his firm and the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). This proposal seeks to amend current Internal Revenue Service policy on federal tax treatment of the proceeds of emission allowance sales.
If anyone ever asks about what you read in this column, tell them you heard it somewhere else.
Of course, I don't really mean that. Let me put it another way: The FORTNIGHTLY gets invited here and there with the understanding that some things will end up in print, and others not. And while I never quote anyone if they were holding a fork or a glass, I do my best to bring back the inside story.
Average generation costs for the nation's electric utilities fell in 1994, primarily due to reductions in delivered fuel prices. Production costs declined by 3.5 percent, averaging just $1.89 per kilowatt-hour (Kwh) by year's end.
The WSCC is the only NERC (North American Electric Reliability) region where production cost increased (em 2.6 percent in 1994 (em as reduced hydro output in California was replaced by more costly natural gas-fired generation.
Stranded commitments (SC), because they are potentially huge, may be a show stopper for increased competition in the U.S. electricity industry. Utility shareholders, industrial customers, and small commercial and residential customers are likely to wage tough battles before state and federal regulatory commissions as they seek to reduce their exposure to these costs.
Noting the growing global demand for new sources of energy, Congress tailored the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) to make U.S. public utility holding companies more competitive abroad. First, it eased the Securities and Exchange Commission review of U.S. investment in foreign energy facilities. Second, it sought to expand U.S. participation in foreign energy-related projects to include U.S. technology as well as investment dollars.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan by 12 northeastern states and the District of Columbia (the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC)) to improve air quality under the Clean Air Act. The plan allows the OTC to establish an alternative-fuel vehicle program fashioned after California's, beginning in model year 1999, or to choose other measures that would provide equivalent pollution reductions. The OTC plan envisions the sale of certain advanced technology vehicles that reduce pollution by more than 70 percent.