Telecommunications

Industry Brief

AT&T continued expanding its use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) with an announcement by General Motors that the telecommunications company plans to buy 1,200 of its Chevrolet Express compressed natural gas (CNG) cargo vans for use at its service centers around the nation. GM said this is its largest single order ever for NGVs. AT&T has 2,472 fleet vehicles now running on natural gas and plans to spend $565 million through 2018 to deploy up to 15,000 clean fuel vehicles, mostly NGVs with a mix of electric vehicles and hybrids (see Daily GPI, March 2, 2011). AT&T operates a fleet of more than 73,000 vehicles.

February 1, 2012

Poll: Consumers Back Natural Gas Expansion, Drilling

In a new national consumer poll, natural gas beat renewables and other forms of energy as to which projects should be considered for expansion, something an overwhelming majority of consumers also say would create badly needed jobs in a struggling economy.

October 14, 2011

CPUC Commissioner’s Confirmation Hits Roadblock in Legislature

A veteran telecommunications attorney and former Federal Communications Commission member who is a strong free market advocate, Rachelle Chong, had her appointment to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) take a detour last Wednesday when a state Senate committee held up deciding whether she will be able to serve out the rest of her term. The head of the state legislative body and also committee chairman, Sen. Don Perata, publicly committed to taking a committee vote Wednesday.

January 9, 2007

NSTAR Electric, Gas Customers to See Rate Cuts

Boston-based NSTAR Electric & Gas, which serves 1.4 million power and gas customers in eastern and central Massachusetts, said Friday the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) has approved a $20 million electric rate cut. As part of the settlement, the reduced rate will be frozen for seven years. The agreement also provides temporary rate relief of $18 million for NSTAR Gas customers, as well as new programs and incentives to improve system performance and customer service.

January 3, 2006

Massachusetts Auditor Finds Lax Oversight of Satellite, Peak Shaving LNG Facilities

The Massachusetts State Auditor on Thursday reported lax oversight by the Department of Telecommunications and Energy (DTE) of the state’s 20 peak shaving and satellite liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage facilities. The facilities, which are a various locations around the state, hold about 9.5 Bcf of natural gas and can deliver a total of 1 Bcf/d.

June 27, 2005

Black Hills Earnings ‘Return to Normal’ in ’04, CFO Says

Marking increasing energy-related earnings and decreasing losses in telecommunications and corporate operations, Black Hills Corp. Tuesday reported higher earnings for the fourth quarter, with net income of $19.4 million, or 59 cents/share, compared with $7.9 million, or 24 cents/share, for the same period the previous year. For the full year 2004, net income was $57.7 million, or $1.76/share, compared with $61 million, or $1.97/share, for 2003.

February 9, 2005

Unitil’s Massachusetts Utility Seeks Gas Rate Decrease, But Bills Could Go Up

Despite the fact that it is seeking a natural gas rate decrease before the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (MDTE), Unitil’s Massachusetts utility subsidiary noted that customers will actually see a slight increase due to the end of a temporary refund.

March 29, 2004

Unitil’s Massachusetts Sub Seeks Gas Rate Decrease, But Bills Could Go Up

Despite the fact that it is seeking a natural gas rate decrease before the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (MDTE), Unitil’s Massachusetts utility subsidiary noted Monday that customers will actually see a slight increase due to the end of a temporary refund.

March 23, 2004

NSTAR Files (Again) for Gas Cost Change

NSTAR Gas filed Tuesday with the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (MDTE) a request to reduce the Cost of Gas Adjustment (CGA) to 81.80 cents per therm from the current price of 89.36 cents per therm.

March 19, 2003

Industry Briefs

Williams disclosed that its former telecommunications business, Williams Communications Group, intends to exercise a purchase right for certain assets for which Williams is guarantor. WCG expects Williams to pay for the fiber-optic network and associated facilities, pursuant to the guarantee, which was negotiated in September 1999, in return for unsecured debt or equity. Williams CEO Steve Malcolm said the action already was factored into earnings, balance sheet and liquidity numbers reported in filings and presented to investors during the past week. “In the event we need to perform on this obligation, we have developed more than sufficient financial capacity to do so,” he said. The issue involves credit support of $750 million for a lease agreement related to the communications assets. The expected closing date for the transaction is April 1. Williams Communications said the move will help preserve its flexibility to achieve a previously-announced comprehensive balance sheet restructuring. The proposed restructuring is intended to support uninterrupted business service and, at the same time, minimize any impact to customer and vendor relationships. Discussions with the company’s banks and others have been expanded to include multiple restructuring options, including the use of a negotiated Chapter 11 reorganization as a restructuring mechanism. The company may decide to pursue that alternative to allow for a more orderly process that maximizes enterprise value.

March 12, 2002
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