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Ca. PUC Clears Way for Liquefied Gas Imports

September 22, 2006 LATimes.com

California utility regulators approved sweeping rules Thursday for the state's natural gas industry, clearing the way for the importation of liquefied natural gas over objections from air quality officials, environmentalists and community groups. The decision by the California Public Utilities Commission is the culmination of a controversial two-year proceeding that examined the state's future demand for natural gas. Thursday's order, approved by all five commissioners, established benchmarks to ensure the adequacy of storage facilities and pipelines and the quality of imported natural gas, among other things. It also set procedures under which utilities should contract for supplies." ...

Smaller SCE&G gas price hike likely

September 27, 2006 TheState.com

SCE&G wants to cut a part of your natural gas bill this winter — but you still will pay more. Thanks to falling natural gas prices from suppliers, the utility has filed a request with state regulators to cut the fuel-cost component of a natural gas bill by 1 percent, effective in November. However, SCE&G already had been given approval by the Public Service Commission for a natural gas base rate hike of 4.24 percent — about $7 per month for residential customers. So, in November — if given approval by the PSC for the fuel-cost decrease — the utility will raise the average monthly natural gas bill by $5.30 instead of $7, said Marty Phalen, vice president for Gas Operations with SCE&G. By law, SCE&G cannot profit from fuel costs. It only can pass these costs on to customers. ...

Pa. Utility commission to hold hearing on electric rate increase.

September 26, 2006 Pocono Record

The first official step to force a power company out of Pike County starts in October. The Pennsylvania Utility Commission will hear testimony from frustrated Pike County businesses and residents who bore the brunt of a 128 percent electric rate increase this year. With any luck, according to Pike County Board of Commissioners Chairman Harry Forbes, the end result will be the forced sale of Pike County Light & Power, to bring the price of electricity down in the area. ...

Edison Seeks to Postpone Rate Hike

September 9, 2006 latimes.com

Customers of Southern California Edison Co. were stunned with energy bills that tripled after the massive heat wave this summer. Now the Rosemead utility says it wants to ease their pain. It is proposing to delay until January a 6% rate increase and to offer more customers a credit of as much as $150 to cover future energy bills. The utility made the proposal to state regulators Friday. "The steps we are taking are modest but provide some measure of relief for customers," said Lynda Ziegler, Edison's senior vice president for customer service. Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for the Utility Reform Network, a watchdog group in San Francisco, scoffed at Edison's portrayal of the plan as providing a break for its customers."Consumers should not be confused. This is not rate relief, it's still a rate hike ? it's just a delayed rate hike," Spatt said. "Real rate relief would be no rate increase." ...

Utah Power rates surge under new system for approval.

September 10, 2006 The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah consumers need only rip open and read their monthly power bills to know they are paying a lot more these days for their electric service. What many of those consumers might not realize is the rates they pay no longer are determined by an impartial panel of state utility regulators sitting as the Public Service Commission. Instead, rates are negotiated in secret by the power company and those who profess to be looking out for the interests of the state's consumers. It is a system of back-room deals and secret compromises that appears to be costing Utah consumers plenty ...

Hearing set about proposed Rockies Express pipeline.

September 10, 2006 Quincy Herald-Whig

A "scoping" meeting set for Wednesday night in Pittsfield will give the public a chance to comment on environmental impacts of a proposed Rockies Express pipeline project. The eastern phase of the proposed project — 622 miles of 42-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline, five new compressor stations and approximately 41 mainline valves and 20 interconnects in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio — passes through Pike County. The meeting takes place 7-10 p.m. at the Pike County Farm Bureau, 1301 E. Washington. The meeting provides an opportunity "to find out where they are going to be running the pipeline and look at what their construction practices are going to be, how deep they'll put the pipeline, how much land they'll take out, how they will compensate for crop damage over the next few years," Pike County Farm Bureau Manager Blake Roderick said. "Issues like that will be important." Boosting public awareness of the project also is important ...

Lawmakers OK Statewide Franchise, Relax Phone-Rate Rules.

September 4, 2006 Reed Business Information

Telephone companies rang up a double regulatory win in California late last month.Legislators approved a bill that will allow for the awarding of a statewide franchise to operate video systems. Utility regulators also approved reforms that will allow telcos to change prices more nimbly, in response to the rates of cable-telephony providers.The franchising bill, AB2987, still needs the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the Republican has been a supporter of competition and greater broadband deployment ...

State eyes late fall hearing on Appleton water rate increase.

September 3, 2006 Post-Crescent

The public must wait two months before offering official input on proposed water rate hikes for Appleton water users. The state Public Service Commission notified city officials of plans to schedule a public hearing on the rate hike plan between Oct. 27 and Nov. 7.The Common Council on Aug. 15 approved sending the rated increase to the PSC. The city needs to raise $4 million to make up for $1.1 million in lost revenues due to industrial closings and $2.9 million to cover increase in expenses at the city’s water utility.The proposed rate increase would boost residential bills by 20 percent, or about $17 every three months. Grand Chute and the Waverly Sanitary District, both wholesale users and the two largest consumers of Appleton water, would see percentage increase of 42 and 43 percent, respectively.City Finance Director Lisa Maertz said the city will offer the PSC hearing dates of Oct. 27, Oct. 30 or Nov. 2. ...

FPL to lower rates slightly.

September 02, 2006 Palm Beach Post

Your utility bill is going down next year. And it's going to stay down even when Florida Power & Light Co. asks for more money to pay for a new natural gas plant that will open in May. FPL said Friday that a monthly customer bill of 1,000 kilowatt hours will drop almost $2 — to $106.68 from $108.61 — starting Jan. 1.Although 1,000 kilowatt hours is the standard unit for measuring these costs, FPL customer bills average 1,183 kilowatt hours a month. That means the average bill will fall to $128.97 from $131.26. Credit a quieter storm season, for one. Florida isn't reeling from a spike in natural gas and oil prices, which is what happened last year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita slammed into oil and gas rigs off the Gulf Coast, choking off supplies to the state. ...

Green energy plan up for vote.

September 5, 2006 Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Three years after announcing its green power program, Georgia Power still hasn't sold a kilowatt-hour of that power to anyone. It plans to, though — any month now. PSC member Angela Speir is critical of the Georgia Power plan, saying it lacks accreditation and costs too much. And thanks to the long wait, consumers who want more environmentally friendly power won't have to pay as much of a premium for it as they would have back in 2003. The price of traditional power fuels like coal and natural gas rose dramatically since then. That means the difference between the prices of green power and traditional power is much smaller. The Georgia Public Service Commission will vote this morning on a Georgia Power proposal to lop 18 percent off the price of green power, which the company tentatively expects to begin selling in October. That premium will go from 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to 4.5 cents, or $5.50 to $4.50 for the 100-kilowatt hour blocks in which Georgia Power will sell green power ...

Are higher electric bills inevitable?

August 28, 2006 The Louisiana Weekly

Sticker shock will soon greet most New Orleanians as the open their Entergy bills in the next couple of months. Electric assessments could increase by almost 50% for the average person to pay for system repairs.Entergy New Orleans claims it has no choice. Morgan Stewart, the utility's Corporate/National Media Relations Director, told The Louisiana Weekly that the company is "required by law to provide power to 190,000 households." Currently, only a fraction of that number reside in the city and reconstructing the power distribution system from heavily damaged areas including the Ninth Ward and New Orleans East, as the company's contract with the city specifies, would amount to more than a half of a billion dollars. ...

Regulators order NYSEG rate cut

August 24, 2006 UTICAOD.com

ALBANY — Electricity delivery rates for New York State Gas and Electric customers will go down next year, and they also will get refund checks under a decision made Wednesday by state utility regulators.The state Public Service Commission ruled unanimously that the Binghamton-based utility has to cut its delivery rates by $36.2 million starting in January and also send out $77 million in refunds to its customers. ...

Green vs. green in wind farm debate

August 28, 2006 The Virginian-Pilot

When the Clean Air Act became law 36 years ago, ushering in an age of increasing environmental sensitivity, ecological controversies had a bracing simplicity: There were the good guy environmentalists trying to protect the air and the water from bad guy big businessmen who wanted to keep dumping whatever the heck they wanted.Today, not so much. We still have those classic enviro v. big biz grudge matches pitting profit against purity. But the urgency for alternative energy sources, more and more, will roil the familiar either-or framing of the debate with competing and equally compelling pro-environmental points of view. One such battle is shaping up in the mountains of Highland County, Virginia, where Highland New Wind Development LLC wants to build the state's first utility-scale wind farm. ...

Xcel faces fight on rate hike

August 21, 2006 Denver Post

State regulators should grant Xcel Energy far less than the $210 million electric rate increase the company is asking for, ratepayer advocates say.The state Office of Consumer Counsel, which represents residential users, and the Colorado Energy Consumers, a coalition of large industrial users, school districts and advocates for low-income ratepayers, challenged Xcel's need for such a large increase in filings Friday with the state Public Utilities Commission. ...


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