Providence Gas Co. (ProvGas) was granted a rematch with state regulators
and Aurora Natural Gas of Dallas last week but got only a token $5,000
knocked off of a $323,000 fine the state imposed in September for affiliate
favoritism and tariff violations. Judge Stephen T. Scialabba also granted
the company's request for rehearing and reconsideration of $300,000 in
refunds to marketers ordered in the Aurora Natural Gas LLC v. Providence
Gas Co. case (Docket No. D-98-1).
The refunds originally were ordered because the Division of Public Utilities
and Carriers determined that ProvGas made decisions just prior to implementing
its retail unbundling program in November of last year that gave one set
of marketers, primarily its affiliate Providence Energy Services, free
access to balancing services paid for by other marketers (See
NGI Sept. 7 issue p.1). While the judge found no reason to reconsider
his determination that some form of rate discrimination occurred, he did
grant reconsideration of the refund amount. He was persuaded to rehear
the case by ProvGas' argument that the refunds would give certain marketers
an unfair advantage over others participating in retail competition inside
its territory. The judge stayed the payment of refunds until the amount
of the payments is reconsidered.
Upon review, the judge also decided to rescind five out of 23 affiliate
rules violations because the regulations governing branding and the use
of corporate logos are unclear. The Division will seek further clarification
from the public utility commission on the matter, he said.
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Natural Gas Intelligence (NGI), is a leading provider of natural gas, shale news and market information for the deregulated North American natural gas industry. Since the first issue of Natural Gas Intelligence was published in 1981, NGI has provided key pricing and data relied upon daily by thousands of industry participants in the U.S, Canada and Mexico as well as Central and South America, Europe and Asia.