National Fuel has filed an application with the PennsylvaniaPublic Utility Commission to begin a system-wide customer choiceprogram starting next April. The program would be a major expansionof the company’s current Energy Select pilot in Mercer County, inwhich 19,700 retail gas customers were allowed – actually forced -to choose alternative suppliers beginning in June 1997. Theexpanded program would offer a choice of suppliers to 210,000customers in National Fuel’s 14 county service territory. It alsowould include some significant differences from the Energy Selectpilot.
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Florida Power Corp. filed plans with the Florida Public ServiceCommission to accelerate the building of a second generation unitat its Hines Energy Complex in Polk County. The unit will provideadditional capability to meet growing demand for electricity wellinto the next century. The company has offered to absorbconstruction costs for the plant in its current customer rates.
The New York State Public Service Commission approved a rateplan yesterday for National Fuel Gas Distribution that will cut itsresidential and commercial rates by $20.4 million in two phasesover the next two years. Not only will customers enjoy lower rates,but the company will have to attain specific service qualitytargets for its customers or face penalties, said PSC ChairmanMaureen O. Helmer.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a change inthe Kansas City Board of Trade’s last trading day for its westernnatural gas futures contract that will place KCBT contractexpiration on the same day as Henry Hub futures go off the board atthe New York Mercantile Exchange. The last trading day will now bethe third business day prior to the first day of the deliverymonth. Formerly, it was the second business day prior to the firstday of the delivery month.
The Georgia Public Service Commission concluded Atlanta GasLight Co.’s historic rate case, opening its statewide gasdistribution system to marketers. The PSC approved a customereducation program for one year and procedures for Atlanta Gas Lightto follow when sharing information with gas marketers about thecompany’s nearly 1.5 million customers. The PSC also orderedAtlanta Gas Light to cut rates by $6 million. The reduction is inaddition to a $7 million rate cut ordered in June.
Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline recently filed an applicationwith the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to construct,own and operate a 1.1-mile, 12-inch diameter lateral pipeline toprovide gas service to the Maine Independence Station, currentlyunder construction in Veazie, ME. The Maine Independence Station isDuke Energy Power Services’ 520 MW gas-fueled generating station.
While it fights with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC)over an order dictating the upstream unbundling of its system,Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) is arguing with the City of Norman, OK,to retain rights to distribute gas there. ONG’s 25-year franchiseagreement with Norman expires Nov. 15, and so far the two partieshave yet to come to terms on an extension. The city wants afranchise agreement with ONG just like its last one, including aprovision allowing the city the opportunity to buy the distributionsystem from ONG every five years. ONG, however, wants to do awaywith the buyout provision this time around. ONG spokesman DonSherry said the city’s interest in owning the system stems, inpart, from a desire to beef up city coffers. “Our feeling about itis that their interest in a forced acquisition of the system isprincipally one of revenue. We have significant questions as towhether they could operate the system any more efficiently than wecould.”
Nicor Gas earlier this week submitted a proposal to the IllinoisCommerce Commission (ICC) that, if approved, would provide customerchoice for the first time to single-family residential natural gascustomers in the northern part of the state.
Virginia Power asked the State Corporation Commission Tuesdayfor authority to build and operate five natural gas-firedcombustion turbines to generate power for the utility’s two millioncustomers during peak demand periods.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved anexpansion of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania’s customer choice pilotprogram to include 270,000 residential and small-commercialcustomers in south-central and western Pennsylvania, or about 70%of the company’s customers.