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Fortnightly Magazine - January 2006

Evolving Risks in the LNG Supply Chain

Some supplies may not make it to U.S. ports.

Paul Nicholson

With the dramatic growth of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade worldwide and increased dependence on LNG as the gas fuel of the future, gas-utility companies at the end of the chain need to question whether the LNG chains are still safe, reliable, and well managed. But before diving in to some of the risks, it should be pointed out that historically LNG chains have been safe.

Terminal Terminations

The unclear language governing termination rights is subject to interpretation and extraordinary financial risk.

Brett Friedman and Justin Harlow

How does one determine the value of power contracts under early termination? Given the vagaries of the contracts themselves, the process is neither clear nor standard, and often results in protracted and costly litigation. Did the counterparty have the right to terminate in the first place?

Tariff Tinkering

FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?

The CIO Forum: The Changing Face of Energy I.T.

Budgets are expected to increase, even as new IT challenges present themselves.

Christian Hamaker

In our annual technology forum, we talk with tech/information specialists at four companies: Patricia Lawicki at PG&E; Ken Fell at the New York ISO; Mark C. Williamson at American Transmission Co.; and John Seral at GE Energy.

Total Shareholder Return: Planning a Future Perfect

Total shareholder return can not only be a measure of past performance, but it can be harnessed as the prime touchstone for planning future performance.

Tim Gardner and Eric Spiegel

TSR is a paradox among financial metrics—dominant in assessments of past performance yet peripheral in plans for future performance. This paradox can be resolved.

Cutting Costs With Real-Time Mobile Data

All systems are Reddy.

Peter Manos

Miscellaneous distribution operations expenses totaled $878 million in 2004— the largest single element of the distribution operations expenditures. Greater integration of real-time data can bring such costs under control.

Rate Shock: A Matter of If, or When?

Robert Zabors

In the near future, the majority of investor-owned electric utilities will request, and ultimately win, rate increases. What can utilities do to alter consumer perceptions of higher bills?

Before the Utility Merger: Thinking Through IT Integration

The way senior tech executives and business managers define success has changed.

Gary A. Curtis and Robert Laurens

Alignment of the business and the information technology (IT) functions within a company is critical to the effectiveness of any strategic initiative. Three years ago, our research identified a number of best practices in IT integration, as they affected M&A execution. What changed, according to our new survey, is the way senior IT executives and senior business managers define success in a merger transaction. With so much at stake in any merger, the distinctions between these two important management constituencies are critical.

NERC Knows Best?

FERC this year must select a reliability czar. But the obvious choice could prove less than ideal.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

NERC up until now has been, in its own words, “a self regulatory organization, relying on reciprocity, peer pressure, and the mutual self-interest of all those involved in the electric system.” Nevertheless, can this tradition of kind, gentle, and voluntary consensus-building stand NERC in good stead as it seeks to transform itself in to a steel-fisted czar that would enforce mandatory standards?

People

(January 2006) Kathleen Chagnon joined Saul Ewing LLP as a partner in its business department. Sierra Pacific Resources announced that Donald D. Snyder was elected to its board of directors. Avista Corp. named Linda M. Jones director of corporate communications. Allegheny Energy Inc. named Loyd (Aldie) Warnock vice president, external affairs. And others...

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