Calendar of Events

Jul 13, 2014 to Jul 16, 2014 | Dallas, TX
Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY

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Public Utilities Reports

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Commission Watch

Tariff Tinkering

FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?

PJM's New Game

If transmission can substitute for gen-plant capacity, why not clear both products in the same auction?

Bruce W. Radford

PJM applied to FERC for authority to impose a new regime of requirements for reserves of electric generating capacity. This new construct, known as the reliability pricing model (RPM), would replace PJM’s current capacity market.

Upstate Uproar

Retail Choice: New York utilities cry “bait and switch,” but it’s not that simple.

Bruce W. Radford

If you take electric service from Orange & Rockland Utilities, the Catskills affiliate of Manhattan’s Con Ed, you can switch to a competitive retail supplier and score a 7 percent discount. But the discount lasts for two months. After that, if you haven’t signed a contract or taken some other action to lock in your discount, your ESCO can boost the commodity rate back to the old level—or even higher.

Reliability Wars

Power System Planning: Who gets paid (and how much) for backing up the system?

Bruce W. Radford

“Confining transmission projects to FTR payments is like confining generators to energy-only payments,” says Ed Krapels, the electric industry consultant from Boston who helped dream up the initial idea of the Neptune project. These words speak volumes on what’s happening in today’s power industry, and on what the ISOs and RTOs are trying to achieve, not only for merchant-grid projects but for merchant generation and system reliability.

Exelon's Epic End Game

Electric M&A: The merger with PSE&G may herald a new industry structure, squarely at odds with regional markets.

Bruce W. Radford

The marriage between Exelon and PSEG would create the largest electric utility in the United States. The policy implications could loom even larger, however. Standing at risk is nothing less than FERC’s entire regulatory regime for approval of mergers and market-based rates.

Gas Transport Rates: A Puzzling Prospect

Why does FERC want to limit pipeline discounts?

Bruce W. Radford

It's certainly puzzling, if not downright peculiar. That's the feeling one gets after studying the notice of inquiry (NOI) that FERC launched late last year, after nearly 10 years of dragging its feet, to re-examine the wisdom of encouraging the practice of rate discounting by interstate natural gas pipelines.

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