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Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 2003

People

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New Positions:

Virginia's State Corporation Commission (SCC) named Howard M. Spinner as director of its Division of Economics and Finance, replacing Richard J. Williams. Williams is retiring after 22 years with the commission. Spinner has been with the SCC since 1998.

The Western Electricity Coordinating Council board of directors elected Jack L. King as its chair and Ronald D. Nunnally and Tim Newton as vice chairs.

Perspective

Emotions have run high in the SMD/RTO debate. It's time for cooler heads to prevail.
W. Scott Miller III

Commission Watch

The commission tacks a new name onto a familiar concept.
Lori A. Burkhart

The commission tacks a new name onto a familiar concept.

By now it is old news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 28 back-pedaled on standard market design (SMD), even renaming it the "wholesale power market platform." But SMD is far from dead, as some had wished. Instead, it is merely toned down, bowing to political furor and regional differences.

Business & Money

The collapse of wholesale markets has utilities once again making the purchasing decisions, and taking all the risks.
Michael T. Burr

The collapse of wholesale markets has utilities once again making the purchasing decisions, and taking all the risks.

If a common theme is emerging from the various policy directions across the country, it seems to be that responsibility for supply resources is moving away from open markets and back into the hands of load-serving utilities.

Book Review

A review by Christian Hamaker
Shirley S. Savage & Peter R. Savage

What is risk management?

No, it's not a brainteaser. It's the driving question behind , a new book from authors Shirley S. Savage and Peter R. Savage that offers a risk primer for energy company employees and executives.

Technology Corridor

Implementing new credit risk management standards and best practices may require an overhaul of current utility IT systems.
Don Jefferis

Implementing new credit risk management standards and best practices may require an overhaul of current utility IT systems.

Information overload is a serious risk to the effectiveness of the credit management process, especially as it relates to developing IT systems to implement the recent credit risk standards developed by best practice group, the Committee of Chief Risk Officers (see the CCRO's Credit Risk Management Report, www.ccro.org [Nov. 19, 2002]).

Off Peak

A Fortnightly Questionnaire
Fortnightly

Retail Power: Double Down or Fold?

Utility retail is at a crossroads. Energy executives must decide which path to follow.
Derek HasBrouck

Utility retail is at a crossroads. Energy executives must decide which path to follow.

There are only two routes to creating or maintaining shareholder value in competitive retail electricity marketing: double down to grow the business significantly or fold and divest the business from its portfolio. Utilities and their competitive retail affiliates should determine today which of these two strategic bearings they wish to follow. The tentative middle ground of hold is simply a way to postpone the inevitable and erode shareholder value.

The IT Outsourcing Question

The pros and cons of outsourcing utilities' IT functions.
Lori A. Burkhart

The pros and cons of outsourcing utilities' IT functions.

Utility companies have a lot to think about these days. Whether or not to outsource information technologies (IT) is part of the equation being calculated in the present economy. While some managers feel anxiety at turning over important company functions to outsiders, others see it as an opportunity to free up IT staff for other work. And keeping up with ever-changing technology is a daunting task.

Energy Market Participants: The Risks of Being a Jack-of-All-Trades

Those that attempt to participate in more than one area of forward energy markets will be internally conflicted in terms of performance measurement and risk profile.
Lloyd Spencer

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