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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - July 2005

Transcos Reborn

Recent attrition raises the question: Consolidation or death spiral?

Michael T. Burr

Despite some setbacks, the transco business might be ready to turn the corner toward a new phase of growth. Will the remaining barriers roll away and allow the industry to grow beyond three companies?

Capacity Planning: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Market-Power Tests: A review of FERC’s market-based rate (MBR) screens, from theory to application.

John R. Morris, Ph.D.

FERC’s market-power screens have been tested and found wanting in some areas. The author examines the screens’ strengths and weaknesses, then proposes future solutions.

Breaking the Gridlock

A proposal to remove the bottlenecks on grid investment.

Rana Mukerji

The lack of transmission investment transcends the usual culprits, pointing to a serious flaw in market structure.

Pipelines: Are Regulators in for the Long Haul?

An economic perspective on long-term contracting for gas pipeline service.

Ken Costello

Natural-gas pipelines are among the biggest supporters of long-term contracting for services, as they try to make life easier for themselves. But the time has come to re-examine the pros and cons of such contracts.

LDCs: That Giant Sucking Sound

The consequences of short-sighted rate making.

F. Jay Cummings

Gas utilities and state commissions must work together to help preserve rates of return, encourage conservation, and lower customers’ bills.

Utilities on Steroids

What's behind today's oddball mergers?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Look at the gargantuan, gerrymandered service territories you would get with the latest pending merger deals: Exelon-PSEG, Duke-Cinergy, and Warren Buffet's bid to combine PacifiCorp with his MidAmerican Energy. Now ask yourself if they make any sense.

People

Aquila Inc. announced that Norma F. Dunn has been named senior vice president, corporate communications. Prior to joining Aquila, Dunn worked 17 years in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility for El Paso Corp. And others...

Clean Air by 2015: The Billion-Dollar Compliance Race

Which utilities and states will be most affected by the new rules?

Kent S. Knutson

Regarding May's lengthy discussion by EPA officials on the Clean Air Interstate Rule: Which states, companies, and generating units will be most affected by the new rules?

RTOs: Facts, Not Fiction

The benefits and future challenges of regional transmission organizations.

Karl V. Pfirrmann

Ten years after the initial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that set in motion the establishment of RTOs, it is hard to dispute that the mature organized markets with independent management of the grid have achieved tangible benefits for all customers. It is important to remind ourselves of the accomplishments and challenges ahead.

Upstate Uproar

Retail Choice: New York utilities cry “bait and switch,” but it’s not that simple.

Bruce W. Radford

If you take electric service from Orange & Rockland Utilities, the Catskills affiliate of Manhattan’s Con Ed, you can switch to a competitive retail supplier and score a 7 percent discount. But the discount lasts for two months. After that, if you haven’t signed a contract or taken some other action to lock in your discount, your ESCO can boost the commodity rate back to the old level—or even higher.

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