Calendar of Events

Jul 13, 2014 to Jul 16, 2014 | Dallas, TX
Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY

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Public Utilities Reports

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Frontlines & Op-Ed

Duke's Risky Spin

Lackluster interest in Duke post spin-off bodes ill for the “pure play” electric utility.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

It was the most anticipated energy deal in the New Year, but not for the usual reasons. The spin-off of Duke Energy’s natural-gas business into a stand-alone company, Spectra Energy Inc., peaked interest because the transaction was to have marked the vindication of the so-called “pure play” electric strategy. The deal also has captured attention because the spin-off represented a divestiture strategy that until now hasn’t been universally embraced, with gas assets still seen by some utilities as part of core operations.

Letters to the Editor

John D. Wilson and Brian H. Potts

John D. Chandley, Principal, LECG LLC: Bruce Radford’s “An Inconvenient Fact” provides a helpful critique of a fundamental element of open-access transmission reform, one of the most important rulemaking cases affecting electricity regulation at FERC.

Cynthia Bogorad, Spiegel & McDiarmid, Washington: From my perspective representing transmission-dependent utilities, I am very sympathetic to the underlying concerns that appear to be driving the TDAs’ proposal. However, the TDAs’ proposal is not the answer.

Letters to the Editor

Jay Kumar, President, Economic & Technical Consultants Inc.: Could Hind Farag and Gary L. Hunt point out any winner whose power costs have decreased after the implementation of LMP? I can bet they won’t find even one single (real) entity. ... I am glad that MISO is sticking to the original basis of a supposedly competitive market.

Diane Moody, Director, Statistical Analysis, American Public Power Association: “The Fallacy of High Prices” purports to show that restructuring of wholesale power markets has resulted in significant benefits. However, the analysis it offers in support of this proposition is not credible.

Another Food Fight!

The new transmission siting and permitting policies could be just as messy and unruly as the old ones.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

The idea behind the NIETC is a noble one: to help facilitate the construction of badly needed transmission capacity to relieve congestion problems and improve reliability. In fact, the promotion of new infrastructure investment is at the heart of EPACT. But there’s just one problem. The new process for permitting and siting electric transmission under EPACT appears to be as flawed and contentious as it was pre-EPACT.

Casino Royale?

Utilities place billion-dollar bets on infrastructure, but the deck may be stacked against them.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Something seems deeply disturbing about the utility industry these days. An almost palpable tension rises whenever the utility CEO is asked how he will build enough power plants to meet the skyrocketing demand for power. Some consultants predict that sometime after this decade the time will come when utilities won’t be able to build enough to meet demand, no matter what they try.

Letters to the Editor

(December 2006) Charles A. King, California ISO: “Kicked Off and On Schedule” reasonably captures many of the implementation issues and stakeholder concerns surrounding the California Independent System Operator Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade program. However, I was somewhat disappointed that the article offered few details about the benefits MRTU will provide.

An Unacceptable Outcome

Mixed signals leave developers wary of building new infrastructure.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher gives mixed signals that leave developers wary of committing to investments in new infrastructure, given his clear desire to affect positive change, while appearing to argue for policy decisions that are politically safe but arguably inconsistent.

Letters to the Editor

Ken Glozer, President, OMB Professionals Inc.: “The Geopolitics of the Grid” was well done. I enjoyed reading it. Regarding the paragraph raising questions about why there are major disparities in retail electric rates from one region of the country to another, one major contributing reason is archaic and unfair federal subsidies.

Anonymous: “Gravy Train” articulately summarized the emerging tension between utility executive compensation and “return to basics” corporate strategies.

A National Meltdown

Discordant global-warming solutions may end up burning utilities.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

How will utilities in the next 10 years manage a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure buildout, higher interest rates/cost of capital, diminishing free cash flows, state renewable mandates, and political pressures to keep rates or power prices low, all while complying with carbon emissions programs that emphasize higher-cost fuels? Meeting the challenges may depend on whether a national carbon program that regulates carbon emissions is established.

Letters to the Editor

Robert Garvin, MAJ, TC, 3RD Corps Support Command: Serving here and seeing how poor the people of Iraq are after 30 years of a dictatorship is truly life changing. You would not believe the electricity challenges they face here. In a country of over 25 million people, Iraq has only about 5,000 MW of electricity at any given time.

Daniel Simon decided to investigate how much the extra heat of incandescent light bulbs over CFLs might cost a customer in air-conditioning cooling costs, compared to an analysis in “Squeezing BTUs From Light Bulbs.”

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