With all the talk of competition coming to the electricindustry, the gas industry could be feeling like a stepchild.According to speakers last week at the fourth annual meeting of theGas Industry Standards Board (GISB) in San Antonio, gas unbundlingis anything but a done deal, and many questions remain.
Articles from Regulators
In an effort to strengthen its ties with regulators, nationalpolicy makers and member companies, the American Gas Association(AGA) announced plans last week to move its headquarters next Marchfrom Arlington, VA, to downtown Washington, D.C. The associationwill take up residence on the fourth floor of the Hall of the Statebuilding’s south tower at 400 N. Capitol Street, which is twoblocks away from the Capitol building and four blocks from FERC.
Atlanta Gas Light Services, the retail marketing subsidiary ofGeorgia LDC Atlanta Gas Light, reached a compromise with retailmarketers and state regulators Wednesday, and agreed to change itsname to Georgia Natural Gas Services. The company will retain theuse of its flame logo, however.
FERC has announced plans to meet on Friday with Midwest stateutility commissioners and officials with the National Associationof Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to discuss the pricingturmoil that hit the Midwest electricity markets in the last weekof June.
California regulators last week liberalized the use of utilityemployees in non-utility energy affiliate companies as part oftheir action finalizing a set of rules on the interaction betweenthe state’s three major electricity utilities and their affiliatedcompanies. With the advent of retail electric competition each ofthe utilities have several unregulated affiliates offering energysupplies and related services.
In an 11th-hour move yesterday, California regulators delayeduntil August a proposed interim action that would expand naturalgas unbundling and set an aggressive schedule for a final gasrestructuring decision by year end. The proposal, which includesunbundling billing and eliminating any restrictions on current gasaggregation among residential and small business customers, will beconsidered when the California PUC meets again Aug. 6.
California regulators are scheduled today to take additionalsteps to open up the natural gas business by removing allrestrictions to the core aggregation program and unbundling gasutility billing services so nonutility firms can compete to providethat function. The actions are part of a larger program aimed atmaking a final decision on gas industry restructuring by the end ofthis year.
The way one observer sees it, Oklahoma Natural Gas and ONEOK GasTransportation can ask for whatever they want in their jointrestructuring filing with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission(OCC); they won’t get everything. “It’s a pretty bold proposal. Ican tell you, ONG’s not going to get what they filed for. If you’reasking for something, you might as well ask for the moon,” said thesource, who asked to be anonymous.
California regulators have approved the $6.6 billion merger ofPacific Enterprises and Enova Corp., allowing the formation of acompany that will serve 21 million gas and electric consumers inSouthern California. But the merger partners did not get all theyrequested. The CPUC ruled merger savings of $174.9 million must bereturned to ratepayers and savings of $161.5 million returned toshareholders over the five years following completion of the mergerrather than over 10 years