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Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 2003

Red, White, and Ready: The Patriotic Push for Energy Legislation

After 10 years of waiting, some experts say a Republican-controlled Congress and a patriotic mood will make the difference in passing energy legislation this year.
Lori A. Burkhart

After 10 years of waiting, some experts say a Republican-controlled Congress and a patriotic mood will make the difference in passing energy legislation this year.

Could this be the year that Congress passes a comprehensive national energy bill? That's the question on the mind of the utilities industry. Some say with Republicans controlling both the U.S. House and Senate-not to mention the presidency-the prospects for comprehensive energy legislation are bright. But some pundits are not so sure.

Demand Response & Reliability: Follow the Fed Model

Regional demand resource banks, based on the Federal Reserve Bank system, would make for greater use of customer demand response mechanisms while ensuring long-term resource adequacy.
Dr. William M. Smith, Joel C. Gilbert, and Paul C. Meagher

Regional demand resource banks, based on the Federal Reserve Bank system, would make for greater use of customer demand response mechanisms while ensuring long-term resource adequacy.

Demand response is the only resource available to electricity markets that is not plagued by long lead times, severe regulatory scrutiny, and environmental concerns.

Sowing the seeds for California Crisis II?

Experts say that many of the new policies by the PUC and the state legislature seem to be putting the Golden State on track for more blackouts.
Arthur O'Donnell

Experts say that many of the new policies by the PUC and the state legislature seem to be putting the Golden State on track for more blackouts.

Although California's electricity crisis reached its worst point two years ago, utilities, consumers, and other market participants continue to fear a recurrence of the supply shortages and price spikes that added $40 billion to the cost of electricity over a horrific 13-month period.

Frontlines

The pros and cons of selling the transmission system.
Richard Stavros

People

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

New Positions:

Dynegy Inc. named Holli C. Nichols its senior vice president and corporate controller. Nichols joined Dynegy in 2000 after working for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Southern Co. Executive Vice President Leonard J. Haynes was installed as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the North American Energy Standards Board, succeeding Bill Boswell.

Letters to the Editor

Amory B. Lovins: It's startling to see in the such nonsense as Andrew Rudin's "Feel-Good Electric Waste" (April 1). He argues that since more efficient use of electricity has merely reduced rather than reversed growth of kilowatt-hour consumption—because the services provided grew even faster—efficient use is bad for the environment and "has not worked." Indeed, it makes us "just waste more electricity, only more efficiently than before."

Perspective

The issues facing Entergy's nuclear plant are fixable. Why shut it down?
Donald P. Irwin

For Want of a Nail: Emergency Preparedness at Indian Point

The issues facing Entergy's nuclear plant are fixable. Why shut it down?

What happens when law, technology, and politics collide? It's anyone's guess.

Commission Watch

PUC could oust PG&E from the project, finding no need for an upgrade.
Lori A. Burkhart

PUC could oust PG&E from the project, finding no need for an upgrade.

Nearly a year after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gave its blessing for upgrading California's notorious "Path 15" transmission bottleneck, an administrative law judge (ALJ) at the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has thrown a monkeywrench into the plan.

Business & Money

An evolving market demands a greater focus on power prices and required return on equity.
Jeff Bodington and J. Robert Malko

An evolving market demands a greater focus on power prices and required return on equity.

Valuation can be difficult even in stable markets, and executives setting their company's strategic course need to understand how the market for power projects is evolving and what may lie ahead.

Technology Corridor

Microsoft's licensing practices push three utilities to re-evaluate their software needs.
Jennifer Alvey

Microsoft's licensing practices push three utilities to re-evaluate their software needs.

The foundation of the Microsoft monopoly over operating systems and productivity applications may be developing hairline cracks, if the experiences of three utilities are any indicator.

Ironically, Microsoft's overly zealous attempts to sign up customers for a yearly licensing subscription program may have pushed these companies, and others, to look at options like Linux and IBM's Lotus SmartSuite.