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Utilities have little to show for the millions they pay in campaign contributions.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 2004

bill into separate legislation would be difficult, in our view, as it has already failed and once someone wants something, another is attaching something else to it. The item with the greatest likelihood of success is reliability, however, many view that with reliability comes PUHCA repeal and transmission D&A and tax advantages-therefore, its success shrinks.

"In terms of the wind tax credit [PTC] extension, it is again unlikely that it can be successfully stripped out. One possibility is that in August or September, an 'extenders' bill is proposed-essentially extending for one year all expired tax credits from 12/21/03. This could be slightly favorable, but would not ignite new wind investment, in our view."

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, N.M., and Domenici in recent days have put a strong face on this new piecemeal strategy. Bingaman on April 15 said, "To my mind, the key question in April of 2004 is, how can we move forward from where we are today? How can we get something useful done in terms of national energy legislation this year?

"I think that can happen, if we are willing to take energy legislation in more manageable bites. We just don't have the time, this year, to go through the process you would need to reconstruct a bipartisan consensus on a broad, comprehensive bill."

So byte-sized energy legislation is what the industry is offered after spending $315 million? Perhaps Trump can learn something from Congress. I'm sure most businessmen would like to learn how to milk an industry for millions of dollars without ever really delivering the goods.


FERC Chairman Pat Wood writes to say that he believes we misquoted him on several points in the interview we conducted with him and published in our last issue. (See, "In His Own Words: A face-to-face interview with FERC Chairman Pat Wood III," , April 2004, p. 16.)

First and foremost, on the chances that Congress might pass a comprehensive energy bill in this legislative session (p. 18, upper left col.), Wood wants readers to understand that he thought he had answered the question with the words, "Honestly, I don't know."

Second, regarding Western energy markets (p. 22, lower left col.), Wood asks readers to understand that he said "SPP" (Southwest Power Pool), in describing regions that had already gone forward in developing a process for transmission planning.

Wood also wishes to clarify certain other ambiguities:

  • On the dearth of new transmission projects (p. 16, right col.), that he said he did not know whether there were many state reviews now going on;
  • Regarding oversight on gas gathering activities (p. 22, upper right col.), that regulators must deal with customer reliance on the past, historic regulatory framework;
  • On rules governing market behavior (p. 24, upper middle col.), that ideas such as economic and withholding are separate from the issue of testing for market power with the SMA screen [Supply Margin Assessment];
  • Regarding power exports from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic states (p. 24, right col.), that he hears that governors in states would like to deliver cheap, coal-fired power throughout