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Fortnightly Magazine - January 1 1999

Keys for Success in Power Plant Investing

Bernard M. Fox

It's not as straightforward as it seems, says an industry veteran.

No one can foresee with a high degree of certainty how electric energy markets will be structured over the long-term. The changes facing the electric energy industry may be as profound as those upheavals we've seen in the airline industry during the past two decades. In the "good old days," a flight from New York to Chicago had one price and an electric generating plant had a regulated price for each kilowatt-hour produced.

Merchant Plants, Coast to Coast

Carl J. Levesque

Applications filed to date in New England and California.

New England and California are hotbeds of merchant plant activity, as shown by a list of proposed projects submitted for certification with the appropriate state agencies as of early November. In New England alone, some 63 projects totaling generation of more than 31,000 megawatts (and growing) were proposed. It is generally understood, however, that of the 31,000 MW of generating capacity represented by those projects, only 7,000 to 8,000 MW will be built.

New England.

Gas Pipelines Auctions

Bruce. W. Radford

A debate on the FERC proposal to put short-term capacity up for bid.

Last summer the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission truly outdid itself. In a move that left the gas industry speechless, the FERC proposed that it would remove all price controls or cost-based regulation for capacity rights shorter than one year's duration, and instead would resort to auctions for the purchase and sale of such "short-term" rights to transport natural gas on interstate pipelines.

The reason? The FERC said it wanted to level the field between short- and long-term contracts.

Capacity Auctions Might Work, But Only if the Stage is Set

Gregory M. Lander

Make gas pipeline rights more fungible, but draw the line at contingent bidding.

Last July the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed mandatory auctions to allocate all capacity rights shorter than one year's duration on interstate natural gas pipelines. (See RM98-10-000, Regulation of Short-term Natural Gas Transportation Services, FERC, July 29, 1998.) At a technical conference held Oct.

FERC's Mandatory Gas Auctions: Are We Bidding the Right Product?

Mark Lively

Auctioning gas imbalances offers advantages over bidding on available pipeline capacity.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued last summer, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a series of auctions for all unutilized short-term rights in pipeline capacity, with the most frequent auction being for transmission rights for the next day. All transporters and the pipeline would be required to release available short-term capacity rights to be auctioned. (See FERC Docket RM98-10-000, Regulation of Short-term Nat. Gas Transp.

People

Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson has selected Daniel M. Adamson as deputy assistant secretary for utility technologies, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Adamson had served as special assistant, Office of the Secretary since 1994.

News Analysis

Carl J. Levesque

Rising projections, with few expenditures to date, paint an uncertain picture.

"In almost all cases, companies will have material events and changes requiring updated year 2000 disclosure in each quarterly and annual report filed with us."

That was the general mandate suggested by the Securities and Exchange Commission last summer in its interpretive release on the disclosure requirements for the Y2K issue.

Mail

IER's Bradley calls global warming a red herring, warns of "open-ended journey" paved with cash.

There is an even bigger problem for California than the $3 billion alleged cost of meeting the Kyoto Protocol (see "Knocked out by Kyoto Protocol?" Public Utilities Fortnightly, Oct. 1, 1998). Kyoto does virtually nothing to stabilize climate.

Special Report

James R. Pierobon

EPA inventory opens generators to scrutiny, especially if they burn coal.

Hazardous emissions are one thing. Damaging publicity is something else-especially in the point-and-click world of Internet access.

In the coming year, the fuels that utilities choose to generate electricity will fall under a stronger media microscope. That's when coal- and oil-fired electricity generators must begin reporting information about their accumulated releases of toxic chemicals for 1998.

Off Peak

Trade groups carry clout with members, could emerge as next energy aggregators.

Electric utility restructuring has finally arrived as an A-list topic at many mainstream trade associations. According to a new study by the Second Opinion market research firm, energy deregulation is one of the top three issues of concern to groups as disparate as the Chemical Manufacturers Association and the Retail Merchants Association of New Hampshire.

That could foretell a new wave of competition for retail energy.

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