NGI The Weekly Gas Market Report / NGI All News Access

CPUC Rejects Western's Pipeline Plan

CPUC Rejects Western's Pipeline Plan

On a 3-2 split vote, California regulators last week dismissed a proposal for allowing gas distribution competition in an industrialized part of the East San Francisco Bay. The majority, led by the current president of the California Public Utilities Commission, rejected an alternative proposal by two members of the five-member CPUC.

Denver-based Western Gas Resources had proposed to buy 170 miles of two-inch- and 10-inch-diameter proprietary gas pipeline and connect it with the local utility transmission system, effectively converting the pipeline to an open-access CPUC-regulated line that would serve nearby industrial load, but could eventually compete for residential load.

The local utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, asked the CPUC to dismiss the proposal because the state regulators have no policy allow local gas transmission and distribution competition. An administrative law judge (ALJ) subsequently issued a proposed order supporting the utility position. The CPUC majority supported the utility and ALJ positions, despite an alternative backed by one of the CPUC's two new appointees, Joel Hyatt, and Josiah Neeper that would have allowed the regulators to hold hearings on Western's application before deciding its fate. "PG&E's approach would limit the commission's ability to consider, case by case, new competitive initiatives, regardless of their individual merits," Hyatt and Neeper wrote in an alternate decision. ".....[T]he commission should not automatically refuse to consider a reasonable proposal on the basis that existing policy does not address all of its ramifications."

Richard Nemec, Los Angeles

©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.

ISSN © 2577-9877 | ISSN © 1532-1266
Comments powered by Disqus