While examining cost allocation and rate design for natural gas distribution services provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a local distribution company (LDC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has concluded that the long-run marginal cost method it adopted in 1992 was not proving effective in producing prices observed in fully competitive markets.
Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley has filed a request to intervene in an action pending before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The action concerns the NRC's failure to address a request by Consumers Power Co. to unload spent, high-level nuclear fuel from a defective cask at the Palisades nuclear plant.
Kelley is filing in support of a petition by two consumer groups that want the NRC to prevent Consumers from using dry-cask storage because the utility has violated its license to operate that system.
COMPETITION, CONVERGENCE ... AND CASHFLOW? THE POWER BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS
APRIL 01, 1996
a strategy helps.
Gas markets in the United States are complicated, dynamic, and evolving. They offer significant commercial opportunities for some companies, commercial hazards for others.
Many companies find it difficult to estimate the price they will receive for gas the next year, month, week, or day.
Competition from Order 636 has gas customers rethinking their firm capacity options.
Just when everyone thought we had put Order 636 behind us, up pops perhaps our greatest challenge yet: the turnback (or "decontracting") of firm capacity on interstate natural gas pipelines. This phenomenon, now emerging on a few major pipelines, such as Transwestern, El Paso, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, inspires different reactions.
An LDC Caucus report, An Issue Paper Regarding Future Unsubscribed Pipeline Capacity, forecasts an increase in reduced subscriptions of firm capacity due to a combination of factors:
s Shifting patterns of gas purchasing will reduce the need for transportation over certain pipeline corridors.
s Single-fixed-variable rate design makes capacity reservation costly for LDCs with low load factors.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a certificate allowing Steuben Gas Storage Co. (SGS) to construct and operate an underground natural gas storage field, the Thomas Corners Field.
In a preliminary finding that SGS lacked market power, the FERC authorized the company to charge market-based rates, subject to reexamination (Docket Nos. CP95-119-000 et al.).
Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has unveiled a "transaction-based" storage program that allows customers to arrange one storage transaction at a time and to negotiate storage fees.The program was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission in November. Previously, most storage customers had to choose between basic, long-term, or auction services, which required differing storage commitments that ranged from a few months to 15 years.
A joint study by Arthur Andersen & Co. and Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) cites this winter's dramatic spike in natural gas prices as evidence of a growing need for selective new investment in gas transmission and storage infrastructure. Natural Gas Trends, 1996 identifies three underlying trends:
s Surging demand is creating new bottlenecks.
s Technology is improving the competitive position of gas.
s Natural gas and electric power markets are becoming increasingly integrated.
Bucking the current trend among state utility regulators, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) has denied a request by Northern Indiana Public Service Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to retain a portion of the revenues it receives from pipeline capacity-release transactions. The LDC asked the URC to permit shareholders to retain 50 percent of the revenues gained from participation in the "secondary market" for interstate pipeline capacity instead of flowing them back to ratepayers through the quarterly gas-cost adjustment (GCA) mechanism.