Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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Frontlines & Op-Ed

Creating the Perfect Regulator

Regulatory complexities call for supernatural skills

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

A regulator’s “goodness” is defined by four fundamental traits: Omniscience; Solomonic Wisdom; Clairvoyance; and Righteousness.

Recession Reprieve

An economic slowdown might buy time for regulatory change.

Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief

Last month’s “Frontlines” column invoked the dreaded “R” word: “recession.” In what turned out to be Executive Editor Richard Stavros’s final column in this space (Richard left the Fortnightly in September to join Dominion Resources in Richmond, Va.), he suggested the industry’s fortunes might actually benefit from an economic downturn, as Wall Street money flees toward defensive investments.

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Sub-Primed and Ready

Will the turmoil on Wall Street spur a massive flight to utilities?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

There remains a concern that during the next economic downturn investors will pass on utilities again. The reason is that the industry’s risks are still opaque to investors.

Kelliher's "Believe It or Not!"

FERC attempts to reform competitive markets.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

The fact that FERC actually released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in late June, on competitive markets of all subjects, has many in disbelief.

Wind Goes Hollywood

The spotlight is on. But true stardom will require more direction from utilities.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Wind has become today’s hit—a potential blockbuster, even—but still needing that one big break. To make it big, utilities will have to lead the charge as owners. That will force utilities to consider and evaluate the significant credit implications that can arise when signing a power purchase agreement with developers that lack deep pockets, or implement fly- by-night schemes.

Viewpoint: In Defense of Markets

The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.

Todd W. Bessemer and Francis X. Shields

A motley assortment of naysayers and recalcitrants continue to oppose competitive electricity markets around the world. But the alternative to markets is centralized command economics—a discredited concept that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Letters to the Editor

John S. Ferguson: I concur with Mark Williams’ assessment that the proposed KKR/TPG acquisition of TXU through a leveraged buyout (LBO) may “have negative consequences for Texas customers,” which he indicates as being a consequence of the nature of an LBO. I think it is more likely a consequence of the nature of the restructuring imposed by the Texas Legislature.

Stephen L. Teichler and Ilia Levitine: We take it with good humor that Scott Strauss and Jeffrey Schwartz used our report on the 9th Circuit’s recent Mobile-Sierra decisions as a foil to the grand argument that courts should return to the “statutory roots” in their interpretation of Mobile-Sierra.

A Climate Emergency?

Capacity shortages from global warming should be the real cause for alarm.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Suppose the experts are wrong about climate change. Suppose they’ve underestimated the impact of global warming. Of course, to longtime readers of Public Utilities Fortnightly, the idea that a warming climate might force adjustments in utility resource plans is nothing new.

Double Dealing on Carbon

Will the environmental lobby be even-handed with utilities?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

They were heralded as “landmark” or “watershed” moments in the industry—a series of deals completed during the last few months in which utilities sat down and negotiated with environmentalists on coal-plant development. While many in the industry had hoped this was the start of a positive new trend, some environmentalists have double-dealt across state lines, arguing against coal plants in one state and then negotiating for their development in the other.

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