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Fortnightly Magazine - March 2007

Building a Risky Business

The diversity in customers’ appetites should be considered by more utilities when pricing products.

Michael T. O’Sheasy

Does the volatility of the customer’s energy cost create much concern regarding the impact on the customer’s core business? One customer may be very comfortable taking on significant electricity cost risk to obtain electricity price and subsequent bill concessions. Another may be willing and anxious to pay a premium to accept less electricity cost risk than normal. Both of these customers, and all the customers in between, should be offered products that fit their needs, and these products should be priced upon sound risk fundamentals.

The Mobile-Sierra Doctrine, Part Deux

A new twist on an old doctrine.

Stephen L. Teichler and Ilia Levitine

The D.C. Circuit once observed that the Mobile-Sierra doctrine is “refreshingly simple.” In fact, however, the doctrine has become incredibly nuanced and complex over time. In two concurrently issued decisions, the court has discovered new prerequisites to the initial application of the doctrine, changed the independent “public interest” review standard into a presumption, and has jettisoned that presumption entirely when contract prices are too high as opposed to too low.

CIOs Under Pressure

IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?

Christian Hamaker

Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.

Demand Response: The Green Effect

How demand response programs contribute to energy efficiency and environmental quality.

David Nemtzow, Dan Delurey and Chris King

Demand response reduces overall energy usage, but the magnitude of the reduction depends on whether the technologies are developed and deployed with efficiency in mind.

Demand Response: Breaking Out of the Bubble

Using demand response to mitigate rate shocks.

Ahmad Faruqui

In the minds of many policy-makers, DR has become associated with rate shocks, rate volatility, unpredictability, and loss of control over energy costs—the very things DR was designed to overcome. What can be done to change this?

Demand Response: The Missing Link

Everyone is in favor of more demand response, but little gets delivered when system operators need it the most.

Scott Neumann, Fereidoon Sioshansi, Ali Vojdani, and Gaymond Yee

Despite overwhelming theoretical and empirical evidence, we aren’t seeing more DR when it is needed most—during emergency periods. The reasons boil down to two obstacles, both of which must be addressed before widespread DR implementation can move forward.

New Market Opportunities in the Hydrogen Economy

Billions in new revenue could be realized early in the transition.

Dan Rastler

In a hydrogen-electric economy, power companies could see very large market opportunities—and play a major role in enabling and accelerating implementation.

Utility M&A: Betting on the CIO

Presenting 5 critical factors in realizing merger-related savings.

Eduardo Alvarez, Donald Dawson, and Samudra Sen

Booz Allen consultants offer five critical factors in realizing merger-related savings.

Valuing Demand-Response Benefits In Eastern PJM

Sam Newell, Frank Felder, and Johannes Pfeifenberger

When summer heat waves cause electric demand to peak, they also often cause wholesale electricity prices to rise substantially above their average levels. However, since most electricity customers face retail rates that do not reflect this movement in wholesale market prices, they do not modify their consumption patterns, causing a significant drop in economic efficiency. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls upon states and utilities to evaluate and implement DR programs to mitigate this problem.

A Monopolist Takeover

Dominion and AEP want to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but re-regulation could get messy.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Is it possible to go back to the way things were? Nostalgia for the old regulated model seems to be waxing of late, particularly in Virginia. The 70-percent rate increases in Maryland last year at the expiration of price caps—part of the transition to electric competition—has become the calamity that some state regulators fear most. Several utilities are pushing for re-regulation.

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