The bias in RTO markets, and how FERC might fix it.
Bruce W. Radford
RTO practice creates less risk and uncertainty over the nominal short-term wholesale price of power, but more risk and uncertainty over the long-term cost of transmission. That spells trouble for the coal-fired plant, sited far off at the mine mouth, needing long-haul transmission over a long-enough term to pay back the capital costs.
How Exelon uses its human resources department as a strategic weapon.
What sort of leadership does today's utility need for the future? How does the culture need to change? Who should be hired from within the industry? Who should be hired from outside the industry? Exelon has sought to answer all of these questions, using human resources as a strategic advantage.
New federal policies portend a wave of demand-response programs, and perhaps a new era in resource planning.
Michael T. Burr
When President Bush signed the energy bill on August 8, he set in motion a chain of events that might lead to major changes in the way utilities price and meter retail electric services—and ultimately in the way they value and use non-traditional energy resources.
Jim Hendrickson, with Marco Bruzzano and Jim Mazurek
Few companies achieve sustainable high performance. Markets change but companies fail to adapt, and investors are unforgiving. Utilities, and new entrants, learned this lesson during the first competitive market cycle of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when few companies sustained a high-performance leadership.
Buyers of power-plant assets use a number of tried-and-true approaches to asset valuation, including discounted cash flow and option-pricing models. While the valuation approaches employed generally are sophisticated, they focus almost exclusively on individual assets. Conspicuously missing is consideration of the asset portfolio as a whole. For illustrative purposes, we performed an assessment of a basic new power-plant portfolio. The results are well suited for general risk analysis and risk management, portfolio planning and restructuring, power plant acquisition, development, and divestiture.
Despite several high-profile deals, utilities remain cautious about outsourcing their key business processes.
Michael T. Burr
It seems that "outsourcing" has become a dirty word among utility executives. But though left unsaid in polite conversation, the word is still on everybody's mind. They might even be doing it. They just aren't talking about it.
Utilities can transform the business while managing risk.
Victor Reyes, Cathy Newman, and Defne Dellaloglu
In a survey of 305 North American utilities, 51 percent of the respondents said they either had outsourced or were planning to outsource a customer-care function in the next two years. But despite its advantages, outsourcing remains fraught with risk—the very reason that traditionally conservative utility companies have in the past shied away from letting third parties take over parts of their business.
Where should outsourcing end—and the real utility begin?
When utilities evaluate business process outsourcing, they need to determine which processes are most advantageous to outsource—core or non-core? Rather than debating the merits of core or non-core, perhaps the more critical questions utilities should ask are: How are our key processes performing? Are they cost-efficient and effective? Do they enhance or inhibit our corporate performance?
There is much to celebrate in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but what will federal regulators do?
When we least expected it, the politicians finally were able to pull a multi-billion white rabbit out of their hat—enacting a comprehensive national energy law (Energy Policy Act of 2005) that will usher in extraordinary changes in the industry However, just how the new law really will affect the industry is the question of the hour, with many provisions of the law left to the interpretation of regulators.
Public Utilities Reports 11410 Isaac Newton Sq., Suite 220, Reston, VA 20190 Voice: (703) 847-7720 | Toll Free: (800) 368-5001 FAX: (703) 847-0683
Dear Reader: Welcome to our new website! We’ve spent the past several months rebuilding Fortnightly.com from the ground up, and we’re now in the process of putting it through its paces. We’ll announce our Grand Opening shortly, but in the meantime we hope you’ll excuse our mess, while we bring Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine to an all-new online platform. Your feedback is welcome!