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Public Utilities Reports

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Fortnightly Magazine - July 2010

Vendor Neutral

Kiewit chooses Alstom equipment for Dominion and Northland Power plants; Abengoa Solar reaches 143 MW with thermal plant startup; S&C Electric to engineer Tessera Solar project; Canada and Hitachi cooperate on carbon sequestration; Black & Veatch to manage PSE&G smart-grid project; AEP selects OPower for customer engagement; SRP picks Elster for AMI rollout; Oncor installs millionth smart meter; plus contract and technology announcements from ABB, Arcadian Networks, Beacon Power, Catalyst Renewables, eMeter, Itron, Open Systems International, Siemens, SunEdison, Tesla Motors and

Transactions (July 2010)

TransCanada floats $1.25 billion in a two-tranche bond offering; KinderMorgan sells $1 billion in notes; Xcel Energy raises its offering to $500 million; plus bond issues from Calpine, SDG&E, FPL, PSE&G and Entergy, totaling more than $4 billion in May 2010.

Guidelines in Practice

J. Michel Marcoux

FERC owns more than one enforcement tool. Besides civil penalties, it can require compliance plans or disgorgement of unjust profits, or condition, suspend, or revoke market-based rate authority, NGA certificate authority, or NGA blanket certificate authority. And lacking criminal penalty authority itself, FERC can refer matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Moreover, while defining an organization as any entity other than a natural person, FERC nevertheless will continue to determine civil penalties for natural person violators, looking to the guidelines for guidance in setting such penalties.

Getting Engaged

How to avoid a Texas-style backlash.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Is customer engagement more about damage control, or helping customers understand their options?

Nuclear YIMBY

Local communities welcome new reactor projects.

Ann Stouffer Bisconti

Visitors to Waynesboro in northeast Georgia might be surprised at local residents’ opinions about two new nuclear energy plants planned for that site; namely, they’re giving the reactors a warm welcome.

People (July 2010)

Constellation promotes Maria Korsnick to Chief Nuclear Officer; Chip Pardee becomes Exelon’s COO; plus executive changes at American Transmission, Entergy, Idaho Power, New Jersey Resources, Northwestern Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas, Pinnacle West, Spectra Energy, TVA, Williams, EPRI and more...

Got Prepaid?

Smart meters open the door to advance billing.

Scott M. Gawlicki

Investor-owned utility executives have long understood the benefits of prepaid metering, but technical and regulatory roadblocks have prevented wide-scale implementation. Now, however, two IOUs—Arizona Public Service and DTE—are planning prepaid metering programs that could be offered to all customers. Smart metering technology might pave the way for prepaid to become a standard service.

PURPA's Changing Climate

California defends its cogen feed-in tariff—complete with its own virtual carbon tax.

Bruce W. Radford

California’s new feed-in tariff (FIT) is creating a burgeoning market for green energy investments, but the policy has sparked a fierce battle over state authority to dictate wholesale power transactions. A federal case will determine whether the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act pre-empts states from requiring purchases that exceed utilities’ avoided cost.

Penalty Predictability

Bringing fairness to FERC enforcement.

J. Michel Marcoux

FERC’s proposed penalty guidelines provide the opportunity for improved regulation. More practical and consistent characteristics for determining penalty fine ranges will increase penalty predictability for industry violations of federal regulations—and will make FERC’s enforcement more fair and transparent.

Solar Tech Outlook

Manufacturers scale up for utility applications.

Lori A. Burkhart

Photovoltaics technology is emerging as a generation alternative—both for centralized and distributed facilities. Solar industry executives say their companies are overcoming obstacles to large-scale implementation. With advances in design and manufacturing, the future looks bright for utility-scale solar power.

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