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Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 2002

Regulators' Forum: A Fight Over Market Design

FERC's attempt to standardize markets have some state regulators up in arms.
Lori A. Burkhart

FERC's attempt to standardize markets have some state regulators up in arms.

The fight over standard market design (SMD) looms large as regulators face the coming year. Passions are heightened on the subject-and everyone has an opinion.

In these pages, takes SMD and other questions right to the top policymakers in six states-Alabama, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Texas-for a snapshot of what the thinking is on hot topics. And of course we included the man of the hour, FERC's chairman Pat Wood.

Bridging the Carbon Gap: Fossil Fuel Use for the 21st Century

Coal gasification as a transition plan to build lead time to develop sustainable, climate-friendly energy technologies.
Henry R. Linden

Coal gasification as a transition plan to build lead time to develop sustainable, climate-friendly energy technologies.

Editor's Note
Several of the sources for this article and accompanying sidebars are referenced numerous times.

Return on Equity: Interest Rates Push Down Allowances

Results of the annual survey of energy utility rate proceedings.
Phillip S. Cross

Results of the annual survey of energy utility rate proceedings.

With interest rates at record lows, it is not surprising to find downward pressure on allowances for return on equity (ROE) set by state public utility commissions in retail rate cases. (The table presented herein shows the results of our annual survey of authorized rates of return on common equity for state-regulated energy utilities.)

Fashionably Retro

Why rate base is back in style.

Richard Stavros

It's no surprise that traditional utilities are now fashionable with Wall Street. With merchant generation and energy trading gone bust, bankers, analysts, and fund managers at the 37th Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference, held last month in Palm Springs, Calif., were falling over themselves to find those regulated gems overlooked during the energy merchant boom years.

People

We welcome submissions to People, especially those accompanied by a Color Photograph. Send to:

The Association of Edison Illuminating Cos. (AEIC) elected new officers. Thomas Shockley III, vice chairman and chief operating officer of American Electric Power, was elected president of AEIC. Elected as first vice president was Peter Burg, chairman and CEO of FirstEnergy. Richard Grigg, president and COO of We Energies, was elected second vice president.

Benchmarks

As Latin America swoons, the electricity sector holds on tight.

Jeffrey Barron

Fighting to Privatize

As Latin America swoons, the electricity sector holds on tight.

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) World Economic Outlook September 2002 gives a fragile outlook in the short-term for Latin America. In 2002, regional output contracted by 2.5 percent in the first quarter (compared with the final quarter of 2001) and is expected to fall in 2002 as a whole, according to the IMF.

Perspective

Lynne Kiesling

FERC's Standard Market Design: Too Detailed To Evolve

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's standard market design (SMD) proposal states objectives that are important and supportable, both theoretically and empirically. Uniform rules and business practices reduce transaction costs and limit opportunities for institutional arbitrage, increase the extent of the market, and increase market liquidity and investment.

Off Peak

Fortnightly's Field Guide to CEOs

They just don't make 'em like they used to. CEOs, that is. Where once CEOs could count on at least a decade of chauffeur-driven limos, stock options, and seven-figure bonuses, in today's hostile habitat, CEOs have a shrinking lifespan. That is the conclusion of a Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) study on CEO turnover.