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Fortnightly Magazine - October 2005

A Low-Voltage Energy Bill

While a few provisions are worth embracing, most of its 1,724 pages represent a waste of good timber.

Peter Van Doren and Jerry Taylor

After four years of legislative trench warfare, contentious legal wrangling, and heated partisan rhetoric, President Bush finally got what he wanted—a really big energy bill. What he did not get, however, was an internally consistent "national energy strategy." Examination of the legislation reveals that its title—the Energy Policy Act of 2005—is less descriptive than the title popularized by Sen. John McCain: the No Lobbyist Left Behind Act of 2005.

Beyond Sarbanes-Oxley

Energy Trading & Risk Management: How to evaluate risk and improve decision-making capabilities.

James W. DeLoach and David M. Johnson

With a heightened focus on risk management, it has become increasingly clear that traditional risk-management approaches do not adequately identify, evaluate and manage risk. An ERM approach integrates risk management with existing management processes, identifies future events that can have both positive and negative effects, and evaluates the effectiveness of strategies for managing the organization's exposure to those possible future events. ERM transforms risk management to a proactive, continuous, value-based, broadly focused, and process-driven activity.

By Executive Decision

Energy Trading & Risk Management: A better framework for making decisions is required to ensure earnings stability and shareholder value in the utilities industry.

Henry Fayne, Michael Gettings, Wes Mitchell, and Gary Vicinus

Although utilities are refocusing attention on their traditional utility businesses, it is clear that the traditional utility decision-making framework is not sufficiently robust to meet the needs of today's utility executive. An effective executive decision framework provides better answers in the complex utility environment that exists today.

The Cost of Katrina

Debate continues on how to safeguard America's energy infrastructure.

Richard Stavros

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the central question: Could any of this have been avoided? Many experts believe that the new authority given to FERC to enforce mandatory reliability standards, as per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will bring greater transparency to the process of protecting critical infrastructure.

People

(October 2005) Xcel Energy named Jacob P. Mercer assistant treasurer for the utility and its operating subsidiaries. Portland General Electric appointed Bill Valach director of investor relations. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher appointed John S. Moot as the commission's general counsel. PJM Interconnection has realigned responsibilities among five executives. And others...

What Is Your Power Portfolio Really Worth?

Change is the only certainty in today’s market.

Devrim Albuz and Mark Griffith

The past year has allowed the North American power sector to continue its recovery, but it has been a treacherous time for investing. Asset values, and the value of their associated debt instruments, are being driven in the short term by an extreme fuel market and in the long term by a back-to-basics mindset among electric utilities. Still, asset valuations in most markets are not yet at replacement costs, leaving current investors with a residual level of risk.

Straight to the Top: FERC’s Joseph T. Kelliher

The new chairman discusses the meaning of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Lori A. Burkhart

The wide-ranging Energy Policy Act of 2005, signed into law by President Bush Aug. 8, already is affecting the energy industry—and guaranteeing that FERC will be a very busy agency. Fortnightly asked FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher what the future holds for the commission.

Entergy on Edge

Can a single utility dispatch a regional grid system without a financial market?

Bruce W. Radford

Now comes Entergy’s pending plan to create an “Independent Coordinator of Transmission” to manage certain grid operations. On the surface, the plan would create independent accountability for the transmission grid, as called for in FERC Order No. 2000, with special attention paid to planning and expansion. Will the model work? Can it improve grid access for IPPs and reduce energy costs for Entergy’s ratepayers?

Big-Time Mergers? Not So Fast, My Friend...

 Whole-company deals may not take off with PUHCA repeal.

Edward Metz and Michael Tarney

One simple line in the recent Energy Policy Act sets the stage for broader geographical ownership by current utilities and easier ownership from outside industries. Readers know very well that one line calls for the repeal of the depression-era Public Utility Holding Company Act, and many pundits have stated that a wave of mergers and acquisition activity is now imminent.

Risking a Green-Power Outage

Will eco-power survive the next five years?

Mark D. Crowdis and Dr. David Bernell

"If you build it they will come" has not proven to be applicable for green-power programs. Utilities have to build their programs in the right way, with the right rewards and incentives—then the customers will come. If utilities do not do this, then the effort to expand renewable energy markets will suffer a great setback, one from which it will take many years to recover.

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