Utility executives face volatile energy markets, skyrocketing fuel prices, and changing federal energy policies. How are utilities benefiting from the turnaround in energy trading?
State Regulators: Driven By Reliability
generation resources already committed to those customers. I support this concept because of the value all energy customers could gain by increasing their control over costs and terms of delivery and the impact that the presence of competing suppliers would have in terms of causing the investor-owned utilities to become more efficient in acquiring and delivering energy supplies, which would benefit both core and noncore customers. In addition, there are many benefits beyond cost savings to customers when competition in the retail market is increased, such as innovation and basic improvements in customer service. Core customers would also benefit from choices such as time-of-use rates, real-time pricing, and renewable pricing options.
Q: Does California have in place a quota for renewable energy, and how is it working, or if not, do you expect to implement one?
A: In 2002, the Renewable Portfolio Standard-S.B. 1078-became law. This requires an annual increase in renewable generation of 20 percent by 2017. The CPUC is aggressively implementing this policy and has accelerated the completion date to 2010. In addition, a new bill awaiting signature by the Governor-S.B. 1478-would ratify our acceleration of the deadline. () The EAP commits the CPUC to looking first at renewable sources for the state's power. Since August of 2002, the CPUC has authorized over 700 MW of utility procurement contracts from renewable resources, such as biomass, geothermal, wind, and small hydro. To get to a 20 percent renewable share in utility resource plans by 2010, the CPUC has set annual milestones and established an open and transparent competitive process for the utilities to solicit renewable power. PG&E and SDG&E have active solicitations under way today, and some of the capacity chosen in that process may be available as early as next year.
Q: What is the issue of greatest importance to California?
A: In addition to ensuring adequate, reliable, and reasonably priced electricity and natural gas, the issue of whether to re-open California's energy market to competition is of great importance to consumers in California. I also believe it is extremely important to keep the focus on reducing the contribution of electricity and gas production and use in California to greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore reduce the impacts of global climate change. Finally, I support a continuing focus on integration of the energy policy of California among its myriad energy-related agencies and commissions, to ensure efficient and effective regulation and policy.
Kentucky: Southern Straightforwardness
Holding the Line
"Preservation of Kentucky's low-cost electricity is the state's highest priority."
Mark David Goss , Chairman, Kentucky Public Service Commission
Q: What is Kentucky doing to deal with volatility and increases in natural gas prices, as well as predictions of lack of gas supplies?
A: Because states have no control over the wholesale price of natural gas, the Kentucky PSC has focused its efforts on public outreach to prepare consumers for higher home heating costs. Outreach efforts have included briefings for the news media, media events, news releases, presentations to community groups, and radio public service announcements. The education effort has emphasized energy conservation measures