More Options for Power Service (“MOPS”) is short of options.
As a result, the experimental Washington Water Power Co. program will be limited to the towns of Harrington and Odessa, officials with the Spokane utility said Monday.
MOPS was supposed to include 2,800 randomly drawn residential and commercial customers from Washington and Idaho in addition to the 980 accounts in Harrington and Odessa.
But Senior Rate Accountant Kelly Norwood said only one company was willing to participate in the random portion of MOPS, which was designed to give customers the chance to choose someone other than WWP as their power supplier.
He said WWP wants more than one alternative because the single option does not provide for a backup if the one participant pulls out of the program.
Two companies are willing to bid for customers in Harrington and Odessa, Norwood said. One, Grant County Public Utility District, is next door, the other is a subsidiary of Public Service Co. of New Mexico.
PNM Energy Marketing is looking for opportunities in several areas, said David Shams, manager of national accounts.
PNM, which also was willing to take on the random portion of MOPS, considers the WWP program and others like it a chance to learn more about deregulated energy markets, he said.
“Any experience is good,” Shams said.
But he added that Grant County P.U.D., with some of the lowest electricity rates in the country, will be tough to underbid.
Norwood noted that several utilities had indicated interest in MOPS when it was proposed last November. But a decision by California authorities to open the market there Jan. 1, 1998, has diverted their attention, he said.
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