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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1998

for integrated resource planning for electric utilities, reducing certain filing requirements and shortening the planning horizon, but has reinstated certain time periods for review and reply comments, as suggested by the commission's public staff, to ensure that intervenors can continue to participate in the process in a meaningful way. Docket No. E-100, Sub 78A, April 29, 1998 (N.C.U.C.).

INTERVENOR COMPENSATION. The California Public Utilities Commission has begun to reform rules for funding intervenor participation in PUC proceedings, acknowledging that once competition arrives for certain utility industries it may no longer be necessary to fund consumer participation outside of representation by the state's Office of Ratepayer Advocate. It has adopted a statement of principles and has proposed a new "optional tract" of periodic budget payments for intervenor funding. R.97-01-009, I.97-01-010, d. 98-04-059, April 23, 1998 (Cal.P.U.C.).

ENERGY USE, EMISSIONS. According to a report prepared for the Energy Fitness Program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, energy efficiency projects carried out by energy service companies should make a dent in electric energy use, overall demand, and direct fuel use and emissions. The report, touted by the National Association of Energy Service Companies, forecasts $94.6 billion in total energy savings between 1990 and 2010, including 1.4 million gigawatt-hours in reduced electric usage and a demand reduction of 18,500 megawatts. It predicts that ESCOs will reduce direct fuel use by 7.9 billion MMBtu over the same period, thereby cutting emissions of carbon dioxide (1.9 billion tons), nitrous oxide (7.6 million tons) and particulates (179,000 tons). As a result, U.S. CO2 emissions would fall to 110 million tons annually by 2010. (For Catalog of Actions to Increase the Delivery of Energy Efficiency that are Effective Both Before and After Restructuring, by Michael Arny, Consortium for Integrated Resource Planning, University of Wisconsin call, 603-280-0255, or see, www.ornl. gov/EFP/pdf/catalog.pdf.)

GENERATING PLANT EFFICIENCY. According to a new report the WEFA Group, 10 years of waiting for deregulation has left most thermal power plants in the U.S. less efficient by an average 15 to 20 percent, boosting production costs. The study, "Subtracted Value: The Cost Crises In The U.S. Power Industry," ranks U.S. power plants by cost efficiency and describes how the high-cost plants might become cost-competitive over the next five years. It also finds that cost efficiency remains independent of size, location, age or even capacity utilization, but instead depends on management, operation and maintenance. (For information contact Kemm Farney at WEFA at 610-490-2647.)

THE KYOTO PROTOCOL. Global warming could be 10 times more costly to American consumers than estimates by the Clinton Administration, according to a new study by Charles River Associates. (The Kyoto Protocol requires the United States to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 7 percent compared to 1990 levels, but the rapidly expanding American economy could require cuts in energy use by up to 30 percent by 2010, around the time when the protocol would take effect.)

Janet Yellen, Ph.D., President Clinton's principal White House economic adviser, has told Congress that the costs to consumers of reducing greenhouse emissions --