New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission authorized Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) to institute two different default energy rate schedules, a standard rate for those customers who have never left the utility for a competitive energy supplier and a discounted, albeit “above market,” rate for customers who took service with an alternative provider and then return to the utility’s default service. According to the utility, such pricing flexibility is necessary in order for it to compete effectively against other suppliers.
Public Service Company of New Hampshire
Fukushima shockwaves hit America’s nuclear renaissance.
In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, questions are arising about the safety and survivability of reactors located in geologically active areas. Major changes might be required, and as a result the U.S. nuclear industry might face an existential challenge on the order of the Three Mile Island accident.
The Future of Fuel Diversity
The fragmented electric industry structure poses an obstacle to a more stable, diverse, and secure power supply.
Daily news headlines have drawn attention to concerns about fuels, especially the rising prices of oil and natural gas. Fears of interruptions of oil exports from Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela (take your pick) roil the energy market. But coal is not exempt from bad news, as production declines reduce output from Eastern U.S.
Try this: Buy wholesale power at 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour; sell at 2.8 cents. That's the deal in Massachusetts. No wonder Enron fled, seeing no margin for profit.
In fact, when I called a friend at a power marketing company to learn more, he said his company had given up hope and was leaving the state.
Utilities can swallow this loss, he explained. They can defer the four-mill shortfall and accrue it for billing later, like a regulatory asset. The state's Department of Telecommunications and Energy allows it.
ARE UTILITIES STOCKS STILL MAKING WIDOWS AND orphans happy?
According to PaineWebber's report, Power Book, utility stocks "are likely to continue to lag the market." Of the 66 electric utilities surveyed, only 9 earned a "buy," or "1," recommendation, and six scored "unattractive," or a "4" rating (see table). The rest fell somewhere between, their stocks labeled either "attractive," or "neutral."
While a merger can bolster a company's potential, it isn't a sure bet. Cinergy Corp.
A state-by-state look at retail competition.
Electric restructuring at the state and federal levels is moving forward fast (em too fast for some. Utilities, unions, consumers and even legislators are making their opposition known by filing lawsuits to block or slow down various restructuring initiatives, from New England to Dixie to the Desert Southwest.
Rolling Back Legislation
Pennsylvania and New Hampshire already have enacted legislation to guarantee customer choice in retail electric markets. Even so, some parties are asking for a rollback.
While authorizing Nashville Gas Co. to increase rates by $4.417 million, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority has modified its existing policy on the treatment of advertising expenses in gas rate cases.
The authority abandoned a past policy limiting advertising recovery to 0.5 percent of the company's gross revenues. It also ordered a 50-50 sharing between ratepayers and shareholders. It granted, however, the LDC's request for full recovery of both payroll and nonpayroll "sales promotion" costs, rejecting allegations the costs should be treated as advertising expenses.
PUC endorses direct access, plant divestiture and limits on recovery of stranded costs. Says order will not interfere with 1990 bankruptcy plan for Northeast Utilities. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has issued its final plan for restructuring the state's electric industry, at the same time announcing what is believed to be the first formal policy decision by a state utility commission that would deny full recovery of costs left "stranded" by the transition to competition.
Released on Feb.
For better or worse, deregulation is now a factor in the electric utility industry. As a general proposition, deregulation makes for increased competition, which in turn will trim costs for consumers. Deregulation of the electric industry means that utilities face the prospect of freezing or reducing rates to retain market share. Stranded investments and the burdens of above-market supply contracts and construction and development contracts (especially nuclear-related contracts) will place additional pressure on these utilities and further reduce their revenue.