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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2001
  • PJM, the New York ISO and PJM West (Allegheny Power and Duquesne Light) to the East. Oppose broad discretionary right of Alliance members to accept or deny new members that could "improve efficiency" of the transco.
  • Transmission Customers. Also attack proposed RTOR, but say key problem is external pancaking, not internal, as suggested by electric associations. Say attorneys Robert Weishaar and Sam Randazzo, representing Coalition of Midwest Transmission Customers, "The Alliance Companies' RTOR is akin to replacing two toll booths, each charging a fifty-cent fare, with a single toll booth charging a dollar." .-B.W.R.

Underscheduling. Universal Studios lodged a complaint with the FERC seeking to redress tariff violations and outages that it attributed to "deliberate underscheduling of power needs" by Southern California Edison, which delivers electricity to Universal at retail.

The movie studio said that Edison's underscheduling "directly caused" the ISO to handle "a constant crisis in both reliability and supply," that, according to Universal, led Edison to impose curtailments on the movie studio under an interruptible retail tariff, when no curtailment was really necessary.

Public Power Participants. The FERC accepted an operating agreement and a transmission control agreement between the California ISO and the City of Vernon, Calif.. The city is believed to be the first municipal entity to become a participating transmission owner in the ISO. .-B.W.R.

Virtual Bidding. Enron Power Marketing lodged a protest against the New York ISO's Feb. 2 progress report to introduce so-called "virtual bidding" (buying and selling by marketers who have no obligation to serve load), saying it would be discriminatory for the ISO to introduce price-capped load bidding by May 1 (as stated in the report), while delaying virtual bidding until November.

Enron argued that each new program should be introduced simultaneously. "Physical market participants [entities who serve load] are currently engaging in implicit virtual bidding," said Enron, "every time their day-ahead load bids deviate from their realized load." .-B.W.R.

Power Markets

Creditworthiness. In the wake of the Valentine's Day order by the FERC, which sought to limit the extent to which the California Independent System Operator could waive credit requirements for scheduling coordinators, and the commotion that followed (generators accused the ISO of ignoring the order; the Power Exchange said the power producers and many others had misinterpreted the order), the ISO said it had amended its tariff in an attempt to squelch the confusion.

New tariff section says the ISO may accept schedules to serve load of a utility that no longer meets creditworthiness requirements if the load is served by (1) resources the utility owns, (2) a resource under utility contract to serve utility load, or (3) a resource bought from a third party who has provided assurance of payment on behalf of the utility. .-B.W.R.

Northeast Price Caps. New York PSC chairman Maureen Helmer said the state would ask the FERC to examine whether the existing bid cap of $1,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh) in northeast bulk power markets is adequate to protect consumers, as part of a five-part plan announced Feb. 20 to boost energy competition and ensure adequate