The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has concluded that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) acted imprudently in deciding to enter a 15-year contract for interstate capacity on Transwestern Pipeline Co. expansion projects that came on line in 1992. It disallowed recovery of the costs associated with the Transwestern commitments in 1992 and in each subsequent year of the 15-year contract. The disallowed amount for 1992 is $13.6 million for the utility's gas department and $4.5 million for its electric department.
Pacific Gas and Electric
TECC Group, Inc. has identified 14 U.S. investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) as major players in research and development (R&D), with expenditures in excess of $10 million. TECC's report, U.S. Electric IOU Research, Development & Demonstration Expense Comparisons 1994, places Southern California Edison at the top of the list ($64 million) and PECO Energy Co. 14th ($11 million). In between, in descending order, we find: Consolidated Edison Co.
As electric restructuring spreads around the nation and the world, the idea of a "PoolCo" spot market (pool) gains credence. Pools already exist in England, Australia, Norway, Alberta, and Argentina. On December 20,1 the California Public Utilities Commission formally proposed a pool, called the California Power Exchange, to begin operation as of January 1, 1998.
Energy utilities in California will be permitted to set charges at a level high enough to earn an 11.6-percent return on equity (ROE) for 1996. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. was also awarded a separate 50-basis-point risk premium (12.01 percent) for the 70/30 debt/equity ratio associated with its natural gas pipeline expansion project.
The award reduces the ROE for all of the state's utilities except Sierra Pacific Power Co., which operated under an ROE allowance of 11.3 percent last year. Both Southwest Gas Corp.
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.
demand-side management (DSM).1
With broad-based support from utilities, consumer representatives, environmentalists, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), some $1.8 billion has been spent since 1990 (and $
Robert S. Silberman has joined California Energy Co. Inc., the largest independent geothermal power producer in the world, as senior v.p. of project development and implementation.NUI Corp. has appointed James R. Van Horn general counsel and corporate secretary. Van Horn was previously senior v.p., general counsel, and secretary at Citizens First Bancorp. Inc.
The interim board of directors of WorldTel has elected Sam Pitroda chairman.
NorAm Energy Corp. has appointed Charles M. Oglesby president of the NorAm Trading & Transportation Group. NTTG includes NorAm's two pipelines, NorAm Field Services, and NorAm Energy Services. Oglesby was previously a v.p. of Coastal Corp. and president and CEO of Coastal Gas Services Co. William A. Kellstrom was promoted to v.p. of corporate business development. Kellstrom was previously president and COO of NorAm Energy Services, NTTG's marketing arm.
The Coastal Corp. has elected Richard G. Smead senior v.p.
According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (em a national organization of local natural gas distributors, pipelines, and equipment manufacturers promoting natural gas vehicles (NGVs) (em the U.S. government supports our country's continued reliance on petroleum-based fuels for transportation through billions in subsidies and tax incentives.
There is a price to pay for becoming a lean, mean fighting machine, and utilities paid the price in 1994.
A number of electric utilities saw revenues increase last year on the strength of higher sales, but the costs associated with laying off hundreds of employees and downsizing company operations took a significant bite out of earnings.
A PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY survey of the nation's top 20 electric utilities shows an increase in their combined 1994 revenues to $107 billion, a healthy 3.6-percent rise over the previous year.