Standard & Poor's (S&P) plans to maintain negative outlooks on the three largest California electric utilities (em Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). Although it considers the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC's) December 20 electric restructuring order "reasonably favorable," S&P will not reexamine the ratings until it is sure the plan will be finalized as proposed. S&P's concern is that some members of the California State Senate believe small customer interests would not be adequately protected.
Southern California Edison (SCE)
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued an order denying rehearing, effectively allowing Mojave Pipeline Co. (MP) to construct and operate its Northward Expansion Facilities in California (Docket No. CP93-258-007). The FERC has already issued five substantive orders in the proceeding.
Especially contentious was the clash with the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) over jurisdiction, leading to a February 1995 FERC order holding that the Northward Expansion was an interstate pipeline subject to federal oversight.
It comes as no surprise that regulated investor-owned utilities (IOUs) hold divergent views on the restructuring of the electric industry. Size, generation cost, transmission access, customer loyalty, and the friendliness of state regulators all factor into their individual visions of restructuring.
Nearly three years on from the Yellow Book,1 after many long hours and thousands (em if not millions (em of pages, and following much bitter debate (linked with some murky politics), the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) by a 3-2 majority has at last published an Order2 to introduce competition for retail customers.
The decision contains four main proposals:
s market structure
s access for custo
RATE UNBUNDLING: ARE WE THERE YET?
FEBRUARY 15, 1996
At the request of California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) and key state legislators, Southern California Edison (SCE) has forged a consensus with a broad coalition, including electric customers and independent power producers (IPPs), on restructuring principles for California's electric utility industry. According to Thomas Higgins, SCE spokesman, the negotiated settlement represents a breakthrough compromise for the "PoolCo" and "anti-PoolCo" camps that will help prevent a fight in the legislature.
A couple weeks ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I picked up my briefcase and wandered down to the Potomac river shoreline to catch up on my summer reading list. There, on the Virginia side, gazing across the river at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol dome, I gathered strength to tackle a foot-high mound of paper.
Interesting times. Challenging times. Confusing times. The electricity industry and its regulators are now inextricably meshed in a tangle of interconnected reforms. With 50 states as laboratories, the process is accelerating. There is no going back. But which way is forward?
The old model of a closed system of vertically integrated electric utilities offering bundled service has been discarded in theory, and is being dismantled in practice.
Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the state's Biennial Resource Plan Update energy auction (BRPU). SCE charges that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and FERC regulations by reinstating the auction late last year.
SCE believes that the auction, which requires California utilities to enter purchased-power contracts, could increase its potential stranded costs by up to $4 billion (in nominal dollars).