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News Analysis

But the standards board must surmount differences with electric brethren before repeating its gas industry success.
Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2001

end, one key difference between the two proposals falls not on the retail side, but on the wholesale. EEI, citing preliminary work being done by various organizations such as the FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Council, as well as question marks in key areas such as FERC's Order 2000 and the developing regional transmission organization saga, understandably has recommended that an electric wholesale standards initiative be shelved for the time being. Not a good idea, says Templeton. The gas industry has made that kind of decision before and has learned from its mistake. "The pipelines went in and spent literally millions of dollars building their electronic bulletin boards," he says. "When standards got set up, they had to go and do it all over again.

"EEI and the electric people will probably say that, 'Wait a minute, we just don't know how we're going to do this, what's going to happen.' But if they can figure out a way to do it now, they will save a lot of money down the road."

Copies of the amended GISB strawman were sent to EEI in advance of the March 1 meeting. At press time, EEI had not responded. Did the tweaking address EEI's concerns? "I'm on one side of this fence, a little biased probably and I helped do it. I think so. We're going to find out in the next several weeks."

But Templeton also thinks that in light of the back-and-forth proposal activity of the last several months, the time might be ripe for some face-to-face discussions. "What we really need to do—in fact, I'm pushing for that over here now—is to sit down across the table and really talk about it so we can tell them, look, this may have been what you wanted to do, but we did it this way, and here's why.' We've got a lot of experience—10 years of experience—to know what may or may not work."

For sure, the GISB self-confidence in its own abilities is highly visible. "We have been recognized at least by the FERC as being very successful, and the [federal] Energy Department, and it is more than likely that we can get this off the ground quicker," he says.

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