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Fortnightly Magazine - September 2008

Capital Conundrum

The Big Build will test the industry’s access to Wall Street.

Bob Ford, et al.

The era of easily available, affordable energy rapidly is ending and our society is realizing that our energy infrastructure is severely inadequate to supply the energy demands of the future. The major issue facing the sector today is how to fund and deliver this new climate-friendly infrastructure, which is currently estimated will cost almost $2 trillion between now and 2030.

Buyer's Remorse

The PJM complaint and the rising cost of electric reliability.

Bruce W. Radford

Who says ratepayers must accept the traditional measure of electric reliability—a single one-hour outage every ten years? If shown the bill ahead of time, might they decide otherwise; that such luxury is no longer affordable? Consumers are making similar decisions about gasoline and mortgages. Why not electricity?

Portfolio Primer

How to maximize shareholder value across the enterprise.

Blake Geoghagan, et al.

How can utility companies ensure investment dollars are being allocated wisely? Asset portfolio management (APM) attempts to capture and analyze the relationships among the drivers of SHV at the portfolio level. It provides management with a well-informed, multi-dimensional picture to help make efficient asset investment decisions that optimize the total enterprise SHV.

The Fortnightly 40

Michael T. Burr

(September 2008) Shareholder value remains strong as the Big Build begins. Our fourth annual ranking shows healthy growth in earnings and share prices. But as capital spending grows, dividends are shrinking and equity returns are weakening. Regulatory relationships will separate future winners from losers.

Standard-Offer Service: Beauty or Beast?

Laurie H. Duhan and Sheldon Switzer

Is development of retail choice compatible with best-priced standard-offer service for smaller customers? Conflicting policy priorities threaten to distort Maryland’s retail energy markets.

AMI Standards: A Work in Progress

Vendors battle it out while utilities await common communications protocols.

Scott M. Gawlicki

Uncertainties about smart metering goals are hindering efforts to standardize communications protocols and feature sets. While vendors battle over standards, utilities and policy makers are moving forward anyway—despite the potential for setbacks.

RPS Race

As green mandates tighten, utilities scramble to comply.

William Atkinson

Mandatory renewable portfolio standards are becoming the norm. But after low-hanging green fruits are harvested, renewable power might get scarce. Many utilities will struggle to meet RPS requirements until lawmakers create stable federal policies and a national market for green credits.

Letters to the Editor

(September 2008) In July 2008, two pronouncements on energy policy were made by well-known and respected public figures, T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore. While the T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore proposals are timely and merit further evaluation, at this time continued dependence on oil imports and only modest progress in replacing fossil fuel use for power generation have to be accommodated.

People

(September 2008) ISO New England selected Vamsi Chadalavada as senior vice president and COO. PG&E Corp. announced that Peter A. Darbee, chairman, CEO and president, will assume added duties of CEO and president of subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Ontario Power Authority appointed Colin Andersen CEO. And others...

Breaking the Cartel

Michael T. Burr

Energy issues took center stage this summer. To get a reality check, we sought out Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank focuses on the interplay between energy policy and national security.

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