CPUC’s Hands are Tied on Restructuring Issues

The California Public Utility Commission yesterday decided toleave Southern California Gas Co.’s interstate transportation ratesbundled, determining that a state law passed last summer preventsthe commission from taking any action on gas industry restructuringissues until the year 2000.

December 18, 1998

Report Puts Offshore Gulf Production on Edge

Well depletion rates in the Gulf of Mexico have reached astartling 38% this year and within the next three years could reach49%, according to a report by Houston-based Simmons & Co.International.

December 10, 1998

Connecticut Modifies Penalty Rules

Connecticut regulators, bowing to pressure from marketers, havelowered penalty rates and delayed opening of the market for smallindustrials and large commercial customers of state LDCs until Jan.1.

November 3, 1998

Breathitt Dissents in Texas Gas Case

The FERC majority has approved a settlement that not only givescustomers on Texas Gas Transmission lower rates and refunds, butalso clears the way for NorAm Gas Transmission, a non-shipper andpipeline competitor, to have an evidentiary hearing on a number ofrate-related issues contained in the agreement. Commissioner LindaBreathitt dissented in part, saying the ruling set a dangerousprecedent for other rate settlement cases.

July 17, 1998

Breathitt: Oil Line Rates Could Hamper Gas Conversions

The way FERC figures pass-through of costs in oil pipeline ratecases could hamper future use of converted lines, according toCommissioner Linda T. Key Breathitt, who issued dissenting opinionsin two oil pipeline cases involving Rio Grande and LonghornPartners Pipelines [OR97-1-001 and OR95-7]. In both cases theCommission ruled that the companies would not be allowed to passthrough the full purchase price of the pipelines, only thedepreciated original cost of the line. “In an area where Congresshas asked us to exercise regulatory restraint we turn around andapply textbook principles in a manner that may discourage futureconversions of oil pipelines to new uses,” Breathitt said. Theorders examine the corporate relationships between the companies toarrive at the conclusion that the companies are selling assets tothemselves. But Breathitt believes arguments about corporate tiesin these cases don’t apply. She was joined by Commissioner CurtHebert.

February 13, 1998
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