The gas industry may feel swamped with all the notices ofproposed rulemaking and notices of inquiry that have been comingout of FERC within the last couple of months, but these arenecessary to accomplish restructuring in a comprehensive fashion,said James J. Hoecker.

“I fully understand that all segments of the industry as well astheir attorneys and consultants are on overload right now as aresult of all these initiatives,” but they are necessary evils,Hoecker told the DOE-NARUC Natural Gas conference in Pittsburghyesterday. “.[W]e cannot approach these matters piecemeal orhalf-heartedly. The costs from the delay and the confusion of suchan approach would be far too great,” he said.

Given the unique momentum coming from competition andconvergence “we are less able to attack problems today one bite ata time.

“Markets are evolving too rapidly, and one change in natural gaspolicy or practice or pipeline operations necessarily affects manyothers. For that reason, we made our proposals as comprehensive aspossible.” Hoecker suggested industry officials “look at the wholepackage before solidifying their judgment.”

He added that GISB’s work to facilitate the posting ofinformation on interactive web sites will provide the key tomarkets in the future.

On the electricity front, Hoecker discussed how the 105thCongress will soon adjourn without having “a serious debate” onrestructuring. “And I think most of us are pretty reserved in ourexpectations for the 106th [Congress].”

Hoecker said, while the power price spikes “don’t justify gloomand doom, [they] were sufficiently discourag[ing] to make manypolicymakers rethink their commitment to competition.” They alsowere dramatic enough to force onto the back burner some utilityplans to divest generation and take on other strategic risks.

“.[C]onsumer interests are becoming more vocal it seems to me indoubting that benefits of retail choice and new rules fortraditional utilities will really [pay off for] average Americans,”Hoecker said.

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