Calendar of Events

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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Corporate Accountability: Utilities Take Stock

The real, painful reform has only just begun.
Jennifer Alvey and Lori A. Burkhart

The real, painful reform has only just begun.

It has been almost a year since Enron imploded into bankruptcy, but rather than solve problems, the event has only brought uncertainty-credit rating downgrades, a drop in investor confidence, and heightened scrutiny from the Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Reign of the Bond Kings

S&P, Moody's, and Fitch tell why credit issues now rule the energy sector.
Richard Stavros

S&P, Moody's, and Fitch tell why credit issues now rule the energy sector.

This year saw energy companies forced to make some grim choices-issuing new stock in falling markets, angering investors with dividend cutbacks, selling prized assets at fire sale prices. Some blame it on the rating agencies-the bond kings-who imposed tougher credit standards after the fall of Enron.

Energy Risk Management: Rise of the Chief Risk Officer

The new CROs are bringing back much-needed discipline to restore investor confidence.
Michael T. Burr

The new CROs are bringing back much-needed discipline to restore investor confidence.

Scott Smith's title is senior vice president and chief risk officer. But when he's out of earshot, some people at AEP call him the chief SOB.

"I'm not a popular guy," Smith says half-jokingly. "I continually get comments about what a pain I am. My people are aggressive and they don't take any crap."

Grading Pat Wood

Reviewing the FERC chairman's first year, and what he might do next.

Richard Stavros

This September, Pat Wood III completed his first year as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Some long-time FERC watchers gave Fortnightly some insights into how this chairman has performed so far, and what we might expect from him in the future.

The Empire Strikes Back

Will FERC's market solution wipe out state commissions?

Ken Carlson

One might say, when it comes to FERC, some state public utilities commissions' lack of faith is disturbing—to paraphrase Lord Vader. It's also necessary, as any journalist would tell you. The FERC NOPR on standard market design (SMD)—which completes the "trilogy" of regulation on wholesale markets, as chairman Pat Wood described it—had some state PUCs blasting the NOPR even before its July 31 release.

Fuel Prices: Headed for a Bull Market

The price cycle is turning skyward for gas, coal, and crude oil.
Ken Carlson

 

Retail Choice Rides Again: A Mixed Market in The Lone Star State

Texas wins raves from the big players for its rules and systems, but the small consumer, as in other states, sees little reason to switch.
Mark Hand is senior editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.

Texas wins raves from the big players for its rules and systems, but the small consumer, as in other states, sees little reason to switch.

Six months into the opening of the restructured Texas electric market, industry players are generally pleased with the results, but the jury is still out, as the state's vaunted system design has shown some cracks, and consumers still see little reason to switch their energy supplier.

Perspective

So-called 'round-trip trades' and what FERC should do about it.
Mark T. Williams is a visiting scholar at Boston University, and a principal of Boston-based Minuteman Energy Consulting LLC. He can be reached at 617-358-2789.

Gas Turbinemania: The Merchant Power Plant

Why it happened? Who lost in the bust? Who will survive to build another turbine?
Robert L. Sansom and A. Michael Schaal

Why it happened? Who lost in the bust? Who will survive to build another turbine?

The period from late 2001 to April 2002 witnessed a classic industry shakeout as a result of a merchant power development sector that became too ambitious in its power plant development plans.

Off Peak

Off Peak

June 1 , 2002

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