American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP) has denied charges itcapitalized on the turbulence in the Midwest electricity markets inlate June by allegedly engaging, along with other power marketersin the region, in “abusive price gouging” that contributed topower prices soaring into the thousands of dollars.
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The American Gas Association released a study yesterday thatforecasts gas consumption growth of 40% by 2015, fueled by strongindustrial demand growth, the dominance of gas-fired generation innew power plant construction and the popularity of gas in new homeand commercial construction. AGA projects gas will expand its shareof the U.S. energy market to 28% in 2015. Consumption is expectedto rise to 31.9 quadrillion Btus (roughly 31 Tcf) from about 22.9quads in 1997.
In a move to renew PG&E Corp.’s focus entirely on NorthAmerican markets, the utility holding company sold its natural gastransmission pipeline, related facilities and energy tradingoperations in Queensland, Australia to Duke Energy International,LLP.
The American Gas Association is seeking to get its two cents’worth in on the conduct of affiliated marketers by adopting eightprinciples intended to guide state officials in policymaking. “AGAbelieves that state officials already have ample authority toreview relationships between natural gas utilities and theiraffiliates,” said Miriam Swydan Erickson, AGA senior director ofgovernment relations. “The new AGA principles are intended toassist state regulators considering additional rules.”
The American Gas Association said yesterday 30% of the U.S.households with gas service, or 17 million homes, have or soon willhave the opportunity to purchase their natural gas from a supplierother than their local gas utility.
The current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tariffon gas imports into Mexico is holding up pipeline development fromthe U.S. to northern Mexico, said consultant George Baker of Baker& Associates. “The only people that have to pay this tariff arethe private industry who would contract with a U.S. gas supplier.If they buy [gas] from Pemex [Petroleos Mexicanos], however, it’s arolled-in price and they don’t pay it.” The tariff, originally 10%in 1991, is rolled back 1% a year and currently stands at 5%.That’s still too high for the private sector to feel confident itcan make money shipping gas to Mexico, Baker told attendees Tuesdayat the conference portion of Houston Energy Expo ’98, formerlyknown as Gas Fair. “That’s an important delay, and the origin of itis largely Pemex’s wanting to say, ‘we’re not ready for competitionyet.’ Some people say, ‘have you ever heard of a state monopolythat has acknowledged that it’s ready for competition yet.’ Mostpeople say no.”