We must efficiently deliver wholesale power within competitive regional markets.
When President Eisenhower was growing up in Kansas, he saw America’s byways and back roads develop to meet point-to-point needs, eventually forming a loosely connected national interstate highway network. The U.S. electric transmission system has similar roots, and it needs a similar vision to meet the needs of the 21st century.
FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.
When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?
State regulators grapple with investments, supply planning, and structural issues.
The opposing challenges of higher gas prices and rising environmental concerns have put utility regulators in a difficult position: How can they bring rate stability while minimizing environmental impacts? At the same time, they are grappling with trends in consolidation, competition, transmission planning, and distribution service quality. Each state brings a different view of the changing utility landscape. For insight, Fortnightly brought together regulators from several states to discuss their plans and priorities for today and the future.
The new Clean Air Interstate Rule is having an unexpected impact on power generation asset values.
With compliance costs estimated at $50 billion to $60 billion during the next 15 years, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) affects just about every market participant in the electric power industry.
State PUCs should recognize a refundable regulatory liability for past charges to ratepayers.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board SFAS No.143 identifies an immediate need for state public utilities commissions to recognize a refundable regulatory liability for past charges to ratepayers for non-legal asset retirement costs. Although these prior charges resulted in billions of dollars of regulatory liabilities on utilities' generally accepted accounting principles financial statements, they are almost invisible on the regulatory financial statements of the utilities. Unless the state PUCs specifically recognize the liabilities, the utilities will have the opportunity to institute a rate-base "cleansing" by transferring ratepayer-fronted money into income.
By opening the field to far-flung deals, PUHCA’s repeal changes the merger game.
The repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act has attracted a surprising amount of attention in the business and consumer press. But while some analysts predict a wave of utility M&A activity, others are more sanguine about the change.
The bias in RTO markets, and how FERC might fix it.
RTO practice creates less risk and uncertainty over the nominal short-term wholesale price of power, but more risk and uncertainty over the long-term cost of transmission. That spells trouble for the coal-fired plant, sited far off at the mine mouth, needing long-haul transmission over a long-enough term to pay back the capital costs.
Consider the opening of the PJM market, and its effect on prices.
Gary Hunt, Doug Buresh, and Mark Turner
Wholesale competition is working, and the best evidence to date is the savings produced from the opening of the PJM market to competitive power generation from the Midwest. A real-time case study unfolded before our eyes in May and October 2004.
Which is the best energy company?
(September 2005) Top honors in our first annual financial ranking go to those staying with the basics and to those dealing with soaring commodity prices.
Why integration may win out in the long run.
In the electric power industry, the urge to merge has gained a new lease on life. These combinations are witness to the powerful forces of consolidation let loose when deregulation makes consolidation a preferred tactic in an uncertain world. But to what extent will government policy encourage or resist this trend? What exactly is the regulatory environment that nurtures combinations or, for that matter, supports fragmentation? As we shall see, there are many cross-currents.