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Fortnightly Magazine - November 2008

Green Bailout

Congress pours tax benefits into efficiency and renewables.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Of the many provisions in the bailout bill, few of them actually establish new federal policy. Instead, most just continue existing provisions that already were set to expire, and probably would have been enacted in some form—if not this session, then next session.

People

(November 2008) Atmos Energy promoted Kim R. Cocklin to the new position of president and COO. Exelon Corp. named Christopher M. Crane president and COO. Public Service Enterprise Group elected Thomas P. Joyce as president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear. Northeast Utilities (NU) announced new leadership for Yankee Gas Services Co. and Western Mass Electric Co. And others...

The Innovation Imperative

Adaptive companies stand the greatest chance for success.

Michael Valocchi and John Juliano

IBM compiled a comprehensive report, The Enterprise of the Future, which describes traits that the leading companies across all industries will share. Key industries—including utilities—also were evaluated individually to see how these traits might emerge as industries reshape and evolve in the face of customer demands, environmental pressures, global integration, workforce changes, and other challenges.

Carbon in the West

Prices between $50 and $80 a ton will trigger major market responses.

Victor Niemeyer and Lew Rubin

Whether in the form of a carbon tax or cap-and-trade regime, climate-change policy is coming and will have a profound effect on electric suppliers and consumers. EPRI studied the effects of high carbon dioxide prices on nine diverse Western generation companies and provides insight into the expected major market responses.

2008 ROE Survey - Rates, Risks & Regulators

Economic uncertainties raise doubts about utility returns.

Phillip S. Cross

(November 2008)Economic uncertainties are raising doubts over utility returns. Will regulators feel the need to consider broader economic effects when engaging in ratemaking? While reporting on this year’s rate cases, the author provides insight on what to expect as stock prices fall.

2008 Regulators Forum: Putting Efficiency First

New rate structures prioritize conservation, but will customers buy it?

Michael T. Burr

As saving energy becomes a policy priority, utility commissioners struggle to reconcile traditional revenue models with smart metering and smart pricing. Unlocking conservation potential will depend on transforming passive ratepayers into smart consumers. Fortnightly hosts a roundtable discussion with commissioners from six states.

Memo to the President-Elect (Part 1)

A clear and present need for nuclear energy expansion.

C.E. (Gene) Carpenter Jr.

The new administration might be our last, best hope for recapturing America’s technological and economic superiority. The time has come to institute an “Apollo Project” level of effort to convert to a carbon-free energy infrastructure while tossing aside the business-as-usual model. The future lies in nuclear power.

Rewiring America

T&D investments prioritize reliability and load growth.

Scott M. Gawlicki

A massive T&D system build-out is starting, but more needs to be done. Executives from Northeast Utilities, Pepco Holdings and ITC Holdings discuss improvements needed for reliability, capacity, security, smart-grid and demand-response measures, as well as accommodating wind and green-energy quotas.

IRP Meets RPS

New green mandates force portfolio planners to re-think their models.

Rob Cleveland and John Brown

Quantifying the impacts of renewable portfolio standards (RPS) on utility integrated resource plans (IRP) sounds straight forward—just add more wind, solar, hydro, biomass, etc., to the plan and everything should be good to go. The reality is not quite so simple.

Rate Case Analytics

Hard numbers support operating- and capital-cost claims for gen plants.

By David Bell and Jason Makansi

It’s been a long time since many electric utilities have had to ask their rate commissions for the amounts of money they’re asking for today. States with deregulation programs either have frozen rates or reduced them over the last decade, in the hopes that competition would naturally lower prices to consumers. Now those programs are ending and their success is questionable. Utilities in more regulated states haven’t faced since the 1970s new build programs like the ones currently contemplated.

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