Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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FERC

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.

A New Solid South

Where Entergy leads, will Wal-Mart follow?

Richard Stavros

Everyone is talking about Entergy's move to form a single-company RTO-lite across its service territory in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due

Utilities will gain from new regs for research tax credits.

Craig King, Jeff Jones, and Kurt Mars

The 1990s ushered in the era of deregulation, bringing a reluctance of state commissions to approve large capital expenditures for transmission and distribution (T&D). To make up for this, capital spending has increased dramatically in the last few years. Now the federal government is stepping in to help utilities prime the pump. The final regulations, issued in early 2004 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, should make it a little easier for utilities, as well as other taxpayers, to use research and development (R&D) expenditures to help lower their effective tax 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.

FERC’s Market-Power Test: First, Do No Harm

Why a new market-power screen—accounting for the relationship between customers and suppliers in the wholesale marketplace—is a necessity.

Louis R. Jahn

The philosophy of "first, do no harm" has served the medical profession well for more than 2,000 years. Today, it may be equally good advice for FERC as it seeks to create fair and accurate screens to determine who does and does not have market power. One of the two interim screens FERC is using to evaluate applications for market-based rate authority may create a large number of false positives—power suppliers judged to have market power when in reality they do not. To remedy this, FERC should add a new market-power screen based upon an analysis of the actual relationship between customers and suppliers in the wholesale marketplace.

RPS: Should States Get Credit?

The risks in renewable portfolio standards.

Gary L. Hunt

State-mandated renewable portfolio standards are being adopted across the country to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects. Nineteen states have enacted renewable portfolio standards, but significant barriers remain to fulfill the potential of RPS. Will RPS actually result in a substantial amount of new project construction?

How Commodity Markets Drive Gas Pipeline Values

Has rate regulation become obsolete for natural gas pipelines?

Mary Lashley Barcella

On Jan. 30, FERC will hold a public conference to review the financial health of the pipeline industry. It will ask whether its regulatory framework still works; whether pipelines can still attract new capital for investment. Does rate policy threaten the financial integrity of the pipeline industry? That very question may come before the Commission. Nevertheless, FERC need not look far for an answer. If the pipeline industry should lie at risk, the cause may go no farther than the Commission itself. In fact, FERC ratemaking policy for gas transportation service now appears to jeopardize the ability of pipelines to recover costs.

FERC to Examine MAPP's Membership Rolls

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has set for hearing a request by Koch Gateway Pipeline Co. (KGP) to charge market-based rates for firm and interruptible natural gas transportation services (Docket No. RP95-362-000). First, however, the FERC must conclude Docket No. RM95-6-000, which will delineate the circumstances under which it may approve market-based rates.

FERC OKs Resale Price Caps in Comparability Case

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has conditionally approved an open-access transmission tariff that contains a price cap in the secondary market for Kansas City Power & Light Co. (KCPL), marking the second settlement of a comparability tariff filing (Docket Nos. ER94-1045-000 et al.).

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