Suffolk County, New York Wins Wheeling Order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Suffolk County, New York, recently won a decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), requiring that its current investor-owned utility, Long Island Lighting Company (LILCO), must allow the county to use its transmission and distribution lines to wheel 200MW of low-cost power to residential customers purchased through the Suffolk County Electrical Agency. This represents 33% of LILCO's daytime peak local usage for residents, and 100% of its off peak usage. The county has 70 days to negotiate wheeling costs with LILCO; if no agreement is reached the decision will be returned to FERC. The county anticipates rate relief as early as April, and has filed a new 100MW wheeling order for business customers.

While LILCO is in the process of merging with Brooklyn Union Gas, the county hopes the Governor and the Long Island Power Agency come up with takeover plan for LILCO. Under the wheeling order, LILCO will still be the "host" but the county will run the power through their lines. County officials say that LILCO will seek to attach stranded costs to the wheeling fee for Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant, but they expect FERC to frown on any such effort. The County's effort began 1989-90 to stop the outflow of businesses because of high electric costs, and in anticipation of deregulation.