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Fortnightly Magazine - August 2006

Mirror, Mirror

A rash of rate hikes around the country could have utilities facing a public-relations disaster.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck has complained that he and the utility have unfairly been demonized in the public and in the press. In one interview with a Maryland paper, Shattuck showed distress over the verbal abuse his executives had received from angry ratepayers. And who can blame him?

People

(August 2006) Patricia Chadwick, president of Ravengate Partners LLC, has been elected to the board of directors of Wisconsin Energy Corp. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. elected Sanford L. Hartman as vice president and managing director, Law, and Brian K. Cherry as vice president, regulatory relations. Jessie J. Knight Jr. was named to the newly created position of executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy. And others...

Letter to the Editor

Joseph Bowring, PJM Market Monitor: ”Pondering PJM's Energy Price Run-Up” by Howard Spinner of the Virginia State Corporation Commission staff raises the question of whether the observed increase in PJM average system prices in the second half of 2005 was the result of fuel-price increases and increased loads, or the result of market power. The results reported in the Spinner article are incorrect; see PJM Energy Prices—2005: Response to Howard M. Spinner Paper.”

Living on the Edge

Putting natural-gas price volatility into hurricane-season perspective.

Gary L. Hunt and George Given

The natural-gas and oil price run-up since hurricanes Katrina and Rita has subsided somewhat following a warmer than usual winter, record natural-gas storage levels, and successful conservation instituted by many gas and electric utilities in recent months. However, new sources of supply concern—such as occurred in Europe with accusations of gas-supply withholding between former Cold War adversaries—have rekindled calls for greater diversity of supply across Europe.

A New England Capacity Market That Works

Two authors beg to differ with Goldman Sachs’ Larry Kellerman on what needs mending in the Northeast.

Randall Speck Esq. and Dr. Miles Bidwell

Although much work remains before all its benefits will be realized, the Forward Capacity Market satisfies the criteria for a capacity system that works, while avoiding the need for the centralized planning and control that Larry Kellerman appears to advocate in “Mending Our Broken Capacity Markets.”

Green Options On the Future

Call options can be used as a financing tool for fixed-cost renewable energy technologies.

Daniel Simon

An unexploited benefit of renewable energy is the predictability of operating costs over the long term. A renewables operator knows today how much it will cost to produce energy decades in the future. This future price certainty has a value that can be transferred to electricity buyers or other market participants. How much value can a renewable-plant operator capture from selling long-term call options, given several future price and volatility scenarios? What will be the cost and benefit to an individual buyer or seller?

The Changing Face Of Credit-Risk IT

A system that measures, monitors, and manages is no longer a Wall Street extravagance, but an industry essential.

Marty Makulski

Fifteen years ago, you couldn’t fill a small room with energy CEOs interested in discussing how credit risk affects their companies’ bottom lines. But a recent series of contract defaults, bankruptcies, Sarbanes-Oxley controls, and merger-and-acquisition activity has placed credit-risk management squarely on the industry’s radar. Today, it’s clear that an integrated risk system that measures, monitors, and manages credit-related risk is no longer a Wall Street extravagance, but rather an industry essential.

One RTO, Two Systems

By trying to placate regulated states—letting utilities “opt out” from its capacity market—PJM finds its RPM idea under fire.

Bruce W. Radford

While the PJM Interconnection has made no major changes to its prototype capacity market since it proposed the idea a year ago in August, and though it has won a tacit OK from federal regulators for many of the plan’s key elements, don’t expect to see a slam dunk when the time comes for a final review of the controversial idea, known as the Reliability Pricing Model.

NERC's Reliability Standards: The Good, the Bad, and the Fill-in-the-Blanks

How to prepare for mandatory enforcement.

Stephen M. Spina, Michael C. Griffen, and William F. Hederman Jr.

FERC staff’s Preliminary Assessment of NERC’s proposed reliability standards identified a number of potential deficiencies, many of which NERC plans to address. What adjustments must be made by users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system in the new era of mandatory compliance?

Waiting on NERC: What's Next for Cyber-Security?

As NERC’s CIP standards advance, utilities move ahead, haltingly, with implementation.

Christian Hamaker

Utilities are preparing for the eventual enforcement of new reliability rules from the North American Electric Reliability Council. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continues its review of the proposed standards, we take a closer look at the effect of these rules on cyber-security, and offer a broad overview of all of the proposed reliability standards.

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