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Fortnightly Magazine - January 2004

Mercury Rising

How will the EPA's rulemaking affect U.S. energy markets?
Stephen Becker and Craig Hart

How will the EPA's rulemaking affect U.S. energy markets?

With President Bush's Clear Skies program stalled in Congress, it is increasingly unlikely that a multi-pollutant regulatory package will receive congressional approval in the near future. In addition to providing another source of frustration for the Bush administration, the delay also forces the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose regulations controlling mercury emissions.

Frontlines

The legal battle of the century is ready to begin.
Richard Stavros

Frontlines

The legal battle of the century is ready to begin.

Tantamount to a declaration of war with state regulators was the order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) late last year, over the objections of Kentucky and Virginia, that AEP must join the PJM grid to meet conditions of its 2000 merger with Central and Southwest Corp.

People

New Positions:
We welcome submissions to People, especially those accompanied by a high-resolution color photograph. E-mail to: photos@pur.com

People

New Positions:

William O. Ball moved to the role of senior vice president of transmission planning and operations for Southern Co. He had been Southern's vice president of transmission planning, policy, and support services since March of 2002.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) board of directors chose Nicholas A. Brown as the organization's president and CEO. Brown has been with SPP for 18 years, most recently as senior vice president and corporate secretary.

Letter to the Editor

Public Utilities Fortnightly

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

"Frontlines" from the Nov. 1, 2003, addressed what Richard Stavros called "AEP's Gutsy Gambit." In the process of panning AEP's strategy, Mr. Stavros demonstrates no understanding or appreciation of the state law issues he purports to address in his essay. I am responding because, by unmistakable implication, Kentucky is one of the "certain state regulators" he repeatedly takes to task.

Perspective

Locational pricing makes the network secure, since the utilities and other market participants get 'paid' to monitor the grid.
W. Scott Miller, III

Perspective

Locational pricing makes the network secure, since the utilities and other market participants get 'paid' to monitor the grid.

The recent pressure on the board and stakeholders of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO)-to postpone the startup of energy markets and concentrate instead on "reliability"-is truly unfortunate. It allows opponents of restructuring to continue to pose a false choice: You can have markets or you can have reliability, but never both.

Benchmarks

A successful initiative should reduce state dependence on volatile supplies.
Brandon Owens and Jack Ihle

Benchmarks

A successful initiative should reduce state dependence on volatile supplies.

California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires retail sellers of electricity to increase the relative percentage share of all such sales represented by renewable electricity by an absolute increment of at least 1 percent of additional share per year, thus achieving a releative share of at least 20 percent of all power sales by 2017.

Commission Watch

FERC's AEP ruling begs the question: Can the feds bypass states that block transmission reform?
Lori A. Burkhart and Bruce W. Radford

Commission Watch

FERC's AEP ruling begs the question: Can the feds bypass states that block transmission reform?

In its search for the perfect power market, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) at last has joined the battle that lately has brought state and federal regulators nearly to blows. A recent ruling puts the question squarely on the table:

Business & Money

The consequences of exuberance are all around us.
Edward N. Krapels

Business & Money

The consequences of exuberance are all around us.

Much of the 160 GW of new generation capacity added to the U.S. inventory since 1998 is now under water, economically speaking. At a per-megawatt cost of $300, this represents $50 billion of investment-much of which is concentrated in Texas (23 GW), Illinois (14 GW), and Georgia (11 GW). The key question for both merchant and other plant owners is how long it will take for plant values to recover.

Technology Corridor

What made BG&E's system more reliable than Pepco's?
Jennifer Alvey

Technology Corridor

What made BG&E's system more reliable than Pepco's?

Reliability and customer information systems (CIS) are rarely mentioned in the same breath. After all, utilities spend millions on their outage management systems to help ensure reliability. But in the wake of Hurricane Isabel last fall, the CIS at Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) gets kudos for helping the utility keep on top of a widespread outage.

The Utility Sector: A Wall Street Takeover?

Financial players bring credit depth to energy markets, but will they play by the rules?
Michael T. Burr

Financial players bring credit depth to energy markets, but will they play by the rules?

The center of gravity for energy marketing and trading activity is moving from Houston to Wall Street. Some major financial institutions already have plunged into the market, while others are testing the waters, gearing up to participate in a bigger way. Already their impact is being felt, and it is most definitely welcome.

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