Storm hype or not? It was inevitable that debate on the subjectwould break out again Wednesday after Tropical Storm Irene formedin the northwest Caribbean Sea and cash prices saw this week’suphill climb get even steeper. Virtually all points were rising by15 cents or more, led by New England citygate (Tennessee Zone 6 andAlgonquin) upticks of around a quarter.
Articles from Debate
After years of debate and hearings on whether and how torestructure the $200 billion electricity industry, mark-up ofcomprehensive legislation by the House Energy and PowerSubcommittee finally is in sight but the chances are slim that atruly bipartisan measure will be voted out in the weeks ahead.
FERC’s attempt at a “Solomonic solution” to the ongoing debateover the function of Sea Robin Pipeline – dividing the offshoresystem in two, with the smaller part being declared transportationand the larger section found to be gathering – apparently hasfailed miserably, with both pipelines and their customers citingshortcomings with the remand decision and seeking rehearing. If theSea Robin ruling is upheld by FERC, the case – which has beenpending since 1995 – would be headed back to the courts for asecond time.
After months of debate and compromise between regulators,marketers and LDCs, SB 601 was introduced to the Pennsylvanialegislature earlier this week, moving residential and smallcommercial gas customers one step closer to gas supply choice. Thenext step for the bill will come on March 23, when the SenateConsumer Protection committee will hold a hearing on the bill.
While Congress continues its unending debate over repeal of thePublic Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), the Securities andExchange Commission (SEC) just about did the deed last week with anorder allowing a subsidiary of the California-based Sempra Energyto have controlling interest in a North Carolina partnership thatwill construct, own and operate a gas utility distribution systemin North Carolina. (Rel. 35-26971)
While gas industry officials debated the merits of capacityauctions, electronic trading experts last week indicated suchauctions were doable from a technical standpoint but would firstrequire a certain amount of standardization of products,definitions and practices. This immediately raised the eyebrows ofsome critics, who believe that too much standardization could beharmful to the gas industry.
Oklahoma’s Republican Sen. Don Nickles has introduced a wholenew approach to the electric restructuring debate, proposing a billthat would strip states of their authority to grant franchises toutilities and open local markets to competition.
Natural gas producers and interstate pipelines squared offagainst each other at FERC’s symposium on reform of its complaintprocess Monday. Both sides agreed that expedited handling ofcomplaints by the Commission was a top priority, but they partedsharply on the need for formal complaints to be processed anddisposed of by FERC by certain deadlines.