Incentives, staffing, and benchmarking in a tight economy.
David W. Sosa, Ph.D., and Virginia Perry-Failor
In several recent utility rate cases, regulators have disallowed portions of utility compensation expenses, on the basis that difficult local economic conditions justify pay cuts. However, when utilities begin squeezing their uniquely qualified technical and management staffs, performance can suffer. Analysis Group authors David W. Sosa and Virginia Perry-Failor review experiences at several companies to show how an evidentiary approach will help utilities avoid disallowances of critical compensation for valued employees.
Generators fight back against EPA’s new regulations
Michael T. Burr
With a flurry of major new environmental regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is altering the power generation landscape. But will the new federal rules survive court challenges—to say nothing of next year’s national elections? Fortnightly's Michael T. Burr considers the controversy over new environmental standards. PLUS: Top Utility Lawyers of 2011.
A wave of coal-fired plant retirements presages a possible crisis in the New England market. As load-serving utilities in ISO New England become increasingly dependent on natural gas-fired capacity and large-scale renewable generators, the region might be forced to rely on expensive cost-of-service reliability contracts to keep the lights on. Stakeholders are considering alternative approaches to encouraging power plant development, including special rate incentives previously reserved for transmission projects. Paul J. Hibbard, former Massachusetts DPU chairman and now vice president with the Analysis Group, analyzes how resource constraints are blurring the lines between competitive markets and integrated resource planning in New England.
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.
We are better off under restructured electric markets.
Howard J. Axelrod, Ph.D., David W. DeRamus, Ph.D., and Collin Cain, M.Sc.
The most important action regulators can take to minimize consumer electricity costs is, and will continue to be, ensuring competitive wholesale markets, while demanding a rich mixture of products from the suppliers in these markets.
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The Nuclear Energy Institute elected Stephen R. Tritch and Mark F. McGettrick to its board of directors. Tritch is Westinghouse Electric Co. president and CEO, and McGettrick is president and CEO of generation at Dominion Energy.
Paul B. Vasington, former chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, joined the Analysis Group as vice president, based in the company's Boston office.
President Clinton appointed James J. Hoecker chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Hoecker, former commissioner of the FERC, replaces Elizabeth Moler who was appointed deputy energy secretary at the Department of Energy.
Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College, was selected by Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peña to replace Robert Hanfling as chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Also at SEAB, Skila Harris was elected executive director. Prior to her election, Harris was special assistant to Vice President Al Gore.
By unbundling usage from access, utilities can maximize contribution to margin and yet still retain load.
With deregulation and industry restructuring, energy utilities face price competition from marketers, brokers, independent producers and even other utilities. To succeed in this environment, utilities will need to develop innovative pricing strategies that better meet customer needs and respond more effectively to competition. The common response by utilities to competition calls for price discounting to retain "at risk"
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