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Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1995

Industry Structures and Market Mechanisms

Seabron Adamson

By Seabron AdamsonSeabron Adamson is senior consultant with London Economics Ltd., a consulting firm for the private sector. A native of Georgia, Mr. Adamson joined London Economics in 1992 and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

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The debate over "PoolCo" vs. bilateral contract markets is a question of market mechanism, or how transactions can be made while recognizing the realities of power systems.

Perspective

David Lapp

Following Congressional approval of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a key sponsor of the bill's electricity title, predicted that "competition should replace monopolism as the rule for much of the power industry. Consumers, renewable energy, and the environment will be much the better for it."

Since then, however, Markey's vision has fallen under a cloud.

CATV Exclusive Franchise Upheld

Phillip S. Cross

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1992 (Cable Act) does not invalidate existing exclusive franchises for local cable television service. The case involved a Tennessee municipality that sought to establish its own cable system, claiming that the Cable Act abrogated the exclusive franchise it had previously granted to a private company.

This New Congress Means Business

W. Lynn Garner

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as a minority party, House Republicans are ready to slash and burn what they see as a bloated federal bureaucracy. The next two years will demonstrate just how powerful the legislative branch can be when both House and Senate are controlled by a strong-willed party on a mission. Electric industry officials seem optimistic, but cautious, about this Republican revolution.

Marketing & Competing

James R. Pierobon

Increasing competition in the electric power industry is likely to entail a little-recognized major complication (em greater difficulty in siting transmission lines. The stakes will often be greater, the opposition could be stronger, and both put a premium on finding a process that can win public acceptance cost-effectively.

Court Upholds NRC Dry Cask Storage Rule

Phillip S. Cross

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) decision approving the VSC-24 concrete cask for storing spent nuclear fuels. The generic approval of the technology permitted Consumers Power Co. to construct dry cask facilities at its Palisades nuclear project and begin loading spent fuel. The State of Michigan and owners of land near the Palisades plant claimed that the Atomic Energy Act required the NRC to hold hearings to consider site-specific issues.

Navigating the Hydro Market in Latin America

Carlos A. Yermoli

The governments of most Latin American countries have yet to establish clear policies about the future ownership of existing generation assets, but they do expect future capacity to be largely developed by the private sector. This has created friction in some countries between governments, which are eager to limit the role of the state in electric supply, and national utilities, which feel threatened and continue preparing traditional expansion plans.

FERC Favors Regional Solutions to Loop Flows

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened a paper hearing on electric loop flow issues arising from the unscheduled flow mitigation plan filed by the Western Systems Coordinating Council (WSCC) (Docket No. ER95-215-000). WSCC members have endured loop flow problems in their region for over 20 years. Expanding on previous ideas, the plan includes the coordinated operation of "controllable devices," such as phase-shifting transformers, that can reduce the level of unscheduled flow by altering power flows on parallel alternating current transfer paths.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

This fight is for the heart and soul of regulation everywhere. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won the first round on February 22, but I think there's more to come.

The fight involves incentives for nonutility generators (NUGs). It also touches on PURPA (em the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (em which guarantees a market to cogenerators or power producers (QFs) who qualify. But more important, this battle involves regulatory philosophy.

FERC Slams Tennessee Gas on Order 636

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted and suspended tariff filings made by Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. (TGP), ordering its staff to convene a technical conference on various issues related to TGP's post-restructuring compliance (Docket Nos. RP95-88-000 and RP95-112-000). The issues under investigation include capacity release, storage, and scheduling, as well as TGP's proposed $118-million rate increase. The FERC noted that TGP's customers "have expressed a high degree of dissatisfaction" with service from TGP. Commissioner James J.

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