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Frontlines

The market speaks but we don't listen.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2003

TELL HOW FERC'S NEW IDEAS HAVE STRAINED THE GRID.

Experts who work with the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) will quote statistics for you on how the relative capacity of the transmission system has shrunk over the years, as measured in terms of kilovolt-amp-miles per megawatt-hour of customer load. Those numbers are bulletproof. Any human telephone operator will confirm that-if you can find one.

But tell me how many miles of transmission line it takes to serve an electric customer-a customer with a solar panel on the roof and a fuel cell in the basement-and you can begin to see the irrelevancy of that statistic.

I just love it when I hear an electric utility executive say something like, "We don't need RTOs. What we really need is more transmission investment."

Yet the executive knows full well the dollars won't be there for grid expansion. Because those dollars are listening to what the market is saying, even if no one else is.

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