Calendar of Events

Nov 24, 2014 | Washington, DC
Dec 08, 2014 to Dec 09, 2014 | Washington, DC
Jan 14, 2015 to Jan 16, 2015 | San Diego, CA

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Public Utilities Reports

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Frontlines & Op-Ed

Obama vs. Reality

Even blue-sky goals fall short.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Obama has set high expectations for his administration. But as the president acknowledged in his inaugural address, fulfilling those expectations won’t be easy. For the U.S. power and gas industry, the specific questions are whether Obama really means what he says about energy policy; whether his policy priorities are sufficient to accomplish the goals he’s set; and whether his “Yes we can!” strategy can survive in the real world, with all its practical constraints and party politics, after the “change” buzz subsides.

California Dreamin'

Left-coast lawmakers envision a greener America.

Michael T. Burr

As the new U.S. government takes shape, at least one trend seems clear: California is taking over the country. Well, maybe not “taking over,” exactly. But leading.

Good News for Coal

Resolving the climate debate gives coal a path forward.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

I met Congressman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) in November. He was speaking to attendees at EEI’s Finance Conference in Phoenix, and after his speech many people remarked that they wished other members of Congress were even half as well versed about the utility industry’s issues as Boucher seems to be.

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.

Letters to the Editor

(October 2008) The information in your Online ROE Database is very helpful and important for a state agency such as ours, which has very limited resources for the purchase of research information. May we have permission to cite and create exhibits from your online database of gas and electric authorized returns on equity and associated data?

A Time to Lead

The financial crisis calls on utilities to invest in America’s future.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

True story: At the dinner table recently, my 11 year-old son—who’s running for 6th grade student council—bemoaned the arguments he’s having with other candidates. I asked what they’re arguing about, and he said “Everything.” “Oh really? What’s your position on the mortgage bailout.” “It sucks!” he blurted. I countered, “But if we don’t do it, the financial system will collapse.”

Avalanche Economics

Alaskan crisis demonstrates pocketbook power.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

A series of avalanches thundered down the sides of coastal mountains near Juneau, Alaska, early in the morning on April 16. No people were hurt—not directly. But the avalanches took out several transmission towers that carried electricity from the Snettisham hydroelectric dam, cutting Juneau off from its primary source of power. The resulting crisis turned into an instructive experiment for Alaska Electric Light & Power Co.—Juneau’s privately held utility—as well as the industry in general.

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.

Why I Hated Wall-E

Hollywood envisions the utility of the future.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

One of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters this summer has been Wall-E—Disney-Pixar’s animated movie about a lovable robot who restores humanity’s place on a trashed Earth. I doubt Wall-E’s producers realized it, but they created a cynical metaphor for the U.S. utility industry.

Letters to the Editor

Regarding "Transmission Rights Row:" While technological advances and the development of fiber optic communications was not foreseen by utilities companies when they executed easement agreements for transmission rights of way, the tremendous escalation of land values, especially near some metropolitan areas, may not have been foreseen by the easement grantors.

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