CROSS THE COUNTRY, CRITICISM RISES FROM INVESTOR-owned utilities as public power agencies are drawn into regional or national markets through power pools and the geographic expansion of power marketing activities. Whether these agencies are seen as federally funded or just indirectly subsidized, the complaints remain the same: tax advantages, no reciprocity, exemptions from regulation.
Who really has power over the power? Do public power agencies enjoy an advantage, as private industry claims?
WE KNOW THEIR BOSSES. APPOINTED BY GOVERnors or elected by the people, commissioners make the decisions that affect the day-in, day-out business of our regulated industries.
But what of commissioners' aides and advisers? The people behind the scenes, who, in some cases, propose decisions for regulators to act on. What wisdom can commission aides share with the industry?
Further, are these posts proving grounds? Can we expect to see aides filling commission seats someday? Elizabeth A. Moler, deputy energy secretary, started as a Senate Energy Committee aide. James J. Hoecker, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman, was once a FERC adviser.
Public Utilities Fortnightly spoke with five aides, whose average age is 37.
Lori M. Rodgers
IN THE EARLY 1970s, WHEN THE "ENERGY CRISIS" DAWNED, New York told electric utilities to stop advertising to promote electric use. State judges deemed such promotion as lacking in "any beneficial content," or even "detrimental to society." It took an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court for utilities to win the right to tout their product.
Today's questions target the bottom line: Can advertising boost sales for energy suppliers? If so, what does it take?
KCPL first with meters, automation; APS second for T&D management.
IF THE 1997 ULTRA COMPETITION CAN SERVE AS A GUIDE, then perhaps the forgotten "wires" business offers the next great opportunity for new applications in information technology.
That's the lesson of this year's contest, which saw Kansas City Power & Light Co., and Arizona Public Service Co. win the top two prizes. Each company gained recognition for IT applications designed in large part to modernize electric utility distribution systems.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
IN THE DRIVE TO MATCH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SYSTEMS WITH THE
demands of "deregulatory" standards, utilities are investing billions in information technology (em some launching new business lines from their experience.
Worldwide, utilities are investing $20 billion; electric utilities pony up the most: $12 billion each year, according to Newton-Evans Research Co. An average U.S. electric utility will invest $43 million this year; a gas utility will invest $9 million.
A control area is like an airport (em too many planes, not enough runways.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AUGUST 21, 1996 - 8:35 A.M.
On Saturday, Aug. 10, 1996, a power outage left more than 4 million Californians without electricity, prompting the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct emergency hearings. Witnesses appeared from electric utilities and a host of federal and state agencies, including the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Western Systems Coordinating Council.
Barry D. Weiss and Phillip Palmer McGuigan
The decision to buy, build, and/or sell information technology assets carries many pitfalls, especially for a regulated utility.
NIPSCO wins top prize for customer information
system deemed state-of-the-art.
Runner-up Brooklyn Union melds Internet
technology with internal systems.To borrow a phrase, only three things matter in energy competition: technology, technology, and technology.
An exaggeration, perhaps, but not too far off for the three-dozen-plus electric and gas utilities that submitted applications for the 1996 Utility Leadership Award for Information Technology (em ULTRA for short.
Sponsored by PUBLIC
Melvin E. Schick
No matter how you cut it, the Customer Information System (CIS) represents a utility's largest computer asset. It eats up the most disk space. It contains the most programs and lines of code. It handles the largest volume of business, whether measured in transactions or dollars.
Billing lies at the core of the CIS. It's the most complex area. But once bills go out to customers, the CIS must manage accounts receivable and the collection process, not to mention financial control and reporting.