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Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1998

Perspective

Peter Fox-Penner

RECENT CONFERENCE on independent system operators held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was, in many respects, a tremendous achievement. It is a testimony to this Commission that its members can muster the stamina to listen to one-and-a-half days of mind-numbing technical discussion of power technology and regulation.

Nevertheless, there is inevitably a misstep or two in these massive "hearing-thons." In this case, the discussion nearly went awry when it turned to comparisons between transcos and ISOs.

Off Peak

AS UTILITIES FACE A MARKET WITH A PREMIUM brand identification, new board members increasingly have stronger backgrounds in marketing and financial services, according to a recent survey of 50 leading utilities by consulting firm Spencer Stuart.

James Hoecker: Building Consensus, Preventing Paralysis

Lori M. Rodgers

PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY SPOKE WITH FEDERAL Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman James Hoecker shortly after the Clinton Administration released its long-awaited Comprehensive Electricity Competition Plan.

Although Hoecker sees new legislation as only "the remotest of possibilities" for this session of Congress, he expects that the "real debate" will begin next year, with environmental issues perhaps proving to be the most difficult to solve.

Are mergers bad for competition? "Not necessarily," he says.

Behind the Limelight: An Interview with the Advisors for Five Key Regulators

WE KNOW THEIR BOSSES. APPOINTED BY GOVERnors or elected by the people, commissioners make the decisions that affect the day-in, day-out business of our regulated industries.

But what of commissioners' aides and advisers? The people behind the scenes, who, in some cases, propose decisions for regulators to act on. What wisdom can commission aides share with the industry?

Further, are these posts proving grounds? Can we expect to see aides filling commission seats someday? Elizabeth A. Moler, deputy energy secretary, started as a Senate Energy Committee aide. James J. Hoecker, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, was once a FERC adviser.

Public Utilities Fortnightly spoke with five aides, whose average age is 37.

NEV?s Mike Peevey: Meters Make the Market

Bruce W. Radford

AS NEW ENERGY VENTURES, LLC EXPLAINS IN ITS PROMOtional literature, it took a long time in California for electricity competition to move from the category of "wacky idea" to widespread acceptance.

But that was before the California electric market opened in April, and before NEV had formed its New Energy Buyers' Alliance, a consortium of clients for whom NEV buys wholesale energy. The alliance includes associations like the California Retailers Association, Western Growers Association and the Independent Colleges of Southern California.

PECO?s Corbin McNeil: A Nuclear Gambit

Elizabeth Striano

FOLLOWING MONTHS OF SPECULATION BY INDUSTRY players, Corbin A. McNeill Jr., chairman and CEO of PECO Energy Co., has formally announced that the company will focus on nuclear generation.

The mid-April revelation didn't take many speculators by surprise.

PECO has decided to focus on generation, nuclear generation in particular. While many other companies have chosen to abandon this risky part of the business, PECO is entering it with both feet. The company believes that nuclear is where its strength and expertise lie.

LG&E?s Don Santa: Choice in a Low-Cost State

Lori M. Rodgers

IN APRIL 1997, AFTER FOUR YEARS AS A COMMISSIONER WITH the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Donald F. Santa, Jr. announced that he would leave the public sector at the expiration of his term and join LG&E Energy Corp. as vice president and deputy general counsel. Included among his first assignments at LG&E was management of legal matters for LG&E Marketing, the national energy marketing subsidiary of LG&E Corp.

Investor Beware: Don?t Overestimate Financial Returns In a Restructured Electric Industry

Bernard M. Fox

TODAY THE ELECTRIC UTILITY INDUSTRY HURTLES TOWARD massive restructuring. This fervor is not surprising as it appears society has become convinced that market forces can work better than a centrally planned, regulated environment. This conviction draws strength from deregulation in other industries, such as the airlines, natural gas production and telecommunications.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

AN EDITOR'S JOB IS A CONTRADICTION IN TERMS. Reveal the truth, unmask what's fake. Simplify, but entertain. Attract attention, but don't get noticed.

Sometimes, however, you've got to stick your neck out. So that's what I did a few weeks ago when I wrote how Commissioner Curt Hébert had become a "loose cannon" at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by sometimes refusing to go along with the full agenda. I posed a question: Was Hébert the Commission's nemesis?

Well, this time I did get noticed (em by none other than the commissioner himself.

People

FERC Commissioner Vicky A. Bailey named Robert H. Solomon as her new attorney advisor for electric matters. Solomon has been with the Office of General Counsel since joining FERC in 1988. He has held key positions such as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Electric Rates and Corporate Regulation.

AmeriGas Propane Inc. announced the election of Richard C. Gozon as director. Gozon will replace Robert C. Forney who recently retired. Gozon is executive vice president of Weyerhaeuser Co.

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