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Frontlines

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1998

pick up on it. We thought its was actually fairly bold to be encouraging formation of an ISO that allows utilities to retain ownership of their transmission assets."

Unfortunately, however, the FERC probably lacks legal authority to force investor-owned electric utilities to form transcos, as Massey suggested: "There is no hostility that I can detect at all toward the concept of [a transco]. As a matter of fact, there are economists that believe that should be the ultimate end game. For the FERC, I think there's a real question about whether we could somehow make that happen, though."

Nevertheless, many foresee more trouble ahead unless the industry can evolve from ISO to transco. Certainly Wall Street thinks so, as indicated by Caren Byrd, a principal with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter: "Once the FERC gave the signal that it could be responsive to the concept, we could start moving in that direction. And the time frame to create transcos would be relatively short."

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