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Fortnightly Magazine - December 2012

Perfect Superstorm

Could carbon taxes emerge in the election aftermath?

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Since Obama won reelection, we must ask whether we’d rather have EPA cracking down on carbon emissions, or whether a legislated framework would be better for everyone.

Maximum Burden

The electricity price increases from the proposed EPA Utility MACT will act as a regressive tax on the elderly.

Roger H. Bezdek

Although EPA claims its tough new clean air regulations will improve public health, in fact they’ll measurably degrade the health of Florida seniors.

People

(December 2012) Tennessee Valley Authority named William D. Johnson president and CEO. Northeast Utilities appointed James W. Hunt as v.p. of regulatory affairs and community relations. Pepco Holdings Inc. promoted Donna J. Kinzel to v.p., treasurer and chief risk officer, Kevin M. McGowan to v.p., regulatory affairs, and O. Ray Bourland to v.p., public policy. And others...

Solution in Search of a Problem

Securitization fails the test for financing environmental capex.

Thomas Feldman

Utilities seeking financing for environmental upgrades should look to the markets for debt and equity, rather than trying to securitize those costs.

Trading on a Knife Edge

The Deutsche Bank case and the meaning of ‘price manipulation.’

Bruce W. Radford

A few months back, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directed Deutsche Bank Energy Trading LLC to show cause why it shouldn’t be assessed a civil penalty of $1.5 million and be made to return some $123,000 in allegedly unjust profits from power trading in markets run by the California ISO.

Demand Growth and the New Normal

Five forces are putting the squeeze on electricity consumption.

Ahmad Faruqui and Eric Shultz

It’s tempting to attribute the recent slowdown in electricity demand growth entirely to the Great Recession, but consumption growth rates have been declining for at least 50 years. The new normal rate of demand growth likely will be about half of its historic value, with demand rising by less than 1 percent per year. This market plateau calls for a new utility strategy.

Defying the Odds

Virginia brings a new coal-fired plant online.

Herbert Wheary

Reports of coal’s demise are exaggerated. This summer, Dominion cleared the regulatory gauntlet to start up a new coal plant. Whether the example can be replicated might hinge on state incentives—and the forward price of natural gas.

The Social Utility

Mastering multi-channel communications for customer service success.

Paul Woods

Utilities across the country are experimenting with various new ways to communicate with customers—from Twitter feeds to text alerts. But few utilities have figured out how to integrate new media channels into a coherent customer engagement approach. A multi-tiered strategy will best serve the needs of customers—and the utility.

Multi-pollutant Emissions Control

MATS compliance now, with flexibility for the future.

Kevin Crapsey

Conflicting demands for complying with EPA’s MATS rule favor a single control technology to deal with multiple types of power plant emissions.

Vendor Neutral

(December2012) KC Electric Association expects soon to finalize installing a Sensus FlexNet network and iCon A electric meters to serve about 4,000 residential and small commercial members across a 5,000-square-mile territory in rural Colorado. Itron and C3 Energy formed an alliance to integrate and jointly market an energy management solution to North American utilities. And others...

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