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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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CAP

Green Power Takes Off with Choice in Electricty

Blair G. Sweezey, Ashley H. Houston and Kevin L. Porter

FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES, A GROWING NUMBER of consumers are able to choose who supplies their electric power and, perhaps more importantly, where that power comes from. Evidence is mounting that this ability to exercise choice may give a long-needed shot in the arm to the deployment of renewable energy technologies.

National polls consistently reveal that between 40 and 70 percent of those sampled say they would pay a premium for environmental protection or for renewable energy, and utility company surveys reinforce those findings.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Power Pools & Reliability

SUMMER IN WISCONSIN. Responding to concerns about the electric shortages of the summer of 1997 and fears that they could happen again, Wisconsin PSC Commissioner Joseph P. Mettner has indicated that the state's energy supply outlook for the summer of 1998 appears much better in eastern Wisconsin than it did one year ago.

Mettner noted that Wisconsin's electric supply system is operating with expected reserve margins of 19.2 percent. But he cautioned that electric power flows do not respect borders.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

TELEPHONE BILLING PRACTICES. Citing the filed-rate doctrine, which bars deviation from published tariffs, a federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of two class action suits against AT&T Corp. that sought damages for alleged fraud. The suite arose from AT&T's failure to disclose to its residential long-distance telecommunications customers its practice of rounding charges up to the higher full minute.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Courts

ENERGY SUPPORT SERVICES. An Illinois appeals court affirmed a 1997 decision by the state commission that had denied authority to Commonwealth Edison to offer "energy support services," such as design, engineering, construction, analysis and management of electrical power equipment and energy systems. The court made this decision despite the utility's argument that no evidence existed to support the commission's finding that ComEd enjoyed a monopolist's advantage over competitors.

Perspective

Jeffrey D. Watkiss

Editor's Note: It was an awkward spot. Power marketers wanted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to block the "tagging" rules imposed by the North American Reliability Council. Could the FERC do that? Having stalled for more than six months, with no sign of action, the Commission surprised the federal energy bar when, on April 7, with no mention on the agenda (there could be no agenda, since there was no meeting), it surreptitiously released its opinion. Also caught unawares, the Fortnightly asked Jeffrey Watkiss, an attorney in the case, to explain what it all means.

Frontlines

Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

THE NEW LOGOS ARE SPLASHED ON BASEBALL CAPS AND COFFEE MUGS, GOLF

shirts and hard hats. There's the three-year, $42-million advertising budget and the slick newspaper, radio and TV ads. There's the NASCAR race, the Touchstone Energysm 300.

But in two, easy-to-understand sentences, what does the new Touchstone Energy do? For an answer, I turned to Michael L. "Mickey" Miller of Kentucky's Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. Miller chairs Touchstone's executive council.

Electric Reliability Sanctions or Commerce?

Bruce W. Radford

EARLIER IN THIS DECADE, FERC CHAIRMAN MARTIN ALLDAY delivered his famous quote: "Everybody is somebody's native load customer."

Today, that truism has fallen under attack. It could go out the window if power marketers get their wish. One group of marketers has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open a new rulemaking on electric system reliability. This group proposes to end the notion of transmission responding to load.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

MICHIGAN CHOICE APPEAL. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals of the Michigan PSC's Jan. 14 rehearing order (News Digest, March 15, 1998, p. 18) adopting a phase-in schedule for electric restructuring and retail choice for Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Kelley alleged that the order fails to create a competitive generation market or foster lower rates. He called it an "outrage," that gave the utilities everything they wanted. Case Nos. u-11290 et al., Feb. 13, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).

NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTRUCTURING. The U.S.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

ATTENDED ANY HEARINGS LATELY AT THE FEDERAL ENERGY Regulatory Commission? They're getting ugly. I see a federal agency under siege (em from without and from within.

The Commission seems to have lost the easy confidence that reigned during Elizabeth Moler's tenure. Don't blame new Chairman James Hoecker. He's getting it from all sides, and it's not his fault.

Consider the bottomless pit known as electric system "reliability." We need new laws to pin down FERC authority.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis

Federal Agencies

ELECTRIC RETAIL PRICES. The Energy Information Administration has released a new report finding that the average retail price of electricity has declined for the third year in a row and remained stable for the first nine months of 1997. According to Electric Sales and Revenue 1996, average residential electric prices declined slightly in 1996, the first drop for that consumer class since the EIA began collecting data in 1984.

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