State regulators say they won't bargain under "threat of blackouts," but their complaint only highlights how the power is shifting.
The Michigan Public Service Commission is...
sure that we have communications with our customers. We know what to do to operate the system and how to talk with other operators in the area so that we can be in good shape and can handle an emergency if something unusual occurs, like a major plant outage or a system coming down that would cause a domino effect ... .
Have you been working with government agencies in planning for this summer?
There hasn't been anything real formal to this point in time [late April]. We always deal with the city and state emergency folks as we work through, like the Y2K planning and those types of things, but so far no one's really required that a major plan be put in place. But I talked to the governor [the week of April 16] and I suspect we'll be seeing some of those types of things [by the summer].
What else have you been doing in terms of final prep work for the summer?
We're really trying to work hard with our customers so that they know-we have a lot of high tech companies here-looking at what they might be able to do to plan ahead or take care of problems so that they can avoid any type of damage or curtailment to their work. So it's the customer piece we're trying to work on more than anything.
... In the past, energy's been so cheap. We [the industry in general] have pretty much worked on the supply side. Now with costs like they are, it makes a lot more sense to work more on the demand side.
Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power
"We are a combined gas and electric utility here, and through the winter months we, of course, encouraged conservation efforts, since natural gas prices have been high ... We are encouraging the utilization or consumption of kilowatt-hours on a very conscientious basis."
Life After Long-Term Contracts
Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power seems to think they'll do just fine after breaking away from PacifCorp.
Blackouts are possible in Wyoming this summer, according to some forecasts. How does that assessment play in your territory?
Our forecast identifies that we do not anticipate any type of service interruptions ... . We have planned, and should have, adequate supply for our customers. Barring any type of infrastructure problems, we should be able to meet the summer load for our customers.
How was your supply arrangement with PacifiCorp, which recently expired, set up?
We had received ... a series of contracts over roughly 37-plus years [in addition to] some extensions off of those contracts and then just new contracts. The most recent contract that expired was a four-year contract that expired on Dec. 31.
How much power did you lose with the 4-year PacifiCorp contract that expired?
It was a full requirements [contract], and that would have been in the 140-MW range. PacifiCorp supplied all of our energy needs. It was not like we had two or three or four different suppliers over those years ... .