(August 2010) Exelon named Kathleen Barrón vice president of federal regulatory affairs and policy. American Electric Power (AEP) promoted A. Wade Smith to president and COO for AEP Texas. El Paso Electric promoted Mary E. Kipp to serve as senior v.p., general counsel and chief compliance officer. Chesapeake Utilities promoted Elaine B. Bittner to v.p. of strategic development, and she retains the position as v.p. of natural gas pipeline subsidiary, Eastern Shore Natural Gas. And others.
Smart-grid planners feel the heat.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
State utility regulators begin to question the benefits of smart grid technology, and customers take to the streets in public protests and demonstrations to oppose installation of smart meters.
FERC owns more than one enforcement tool. Besides civil penalties, it can require compliance plans or disgorgement of unjust profits, or condition, suspend, or revoke market-based rate authority, NGA certificate authority, or NGA blanket certificate authority. And lacking criminal penalty authority itself, FERC can refer matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Moreover, while defining an organization as any entity other than a natural person, FERC nevertheless will continue to determine civil penalties for natural person violators, looking to the guidelines for guidance in setting such penalties.
Synchronizing networks to bring green power to market.
In order to fully integrate wind and other dispersed sources of energy into the system, America’s patchwork transmission networks need to be more closely interconnected and synchronized. An advocate for the Tres Amigas merchant transmission project explains how the proposed facility will integrate the grid.
Can a broadly based committee resolve the nuclear waste dilemma?
The Department of Energy assembled an all-star Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. With such political and industry heavyweights as Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton and John Rowe, the commission must be taken seriously. But can a broadly focused committee finish the decades-long battle to close the nuclear fuel cycle?
Setting the stage for conservation.
America’s electric utilities understand their central role in taking efficiency and conservation to the next level. Accordingly, the industry has nearly doubled its spending on efficiency measures in the past few years. But encouraging customers to save energy won’t be enough to keep pace with the electricity demands of a growing digital economy. The country’s efficiency efforts will be most effective as part of a clean energy portfolio strategy.
Manufacturers scale up for utility applications.
Photovoltaics technology is emerging as a generation alternative—both for centralized and distributed facilities. Solar industry executives say their companies are overcoming obstacles to large-scale implementation. With advances in design and manufacturing, the future looks bright for utility-scale solar power.
Bringing fairness to FERC enforcement.
FERC’s proposed penalty guidelines provide the opportunity for improved regulation. More practical and consistent characteristics for determining penalty fine ranges will increase penalty predictability for industry violations of federal regulations—and will make FERC’s enforcement more fair and transparent.
California defends its cogen feed-in tariff—complete with its own virtual carbon tax.
California’s new feed-in tariff (FIT) is creating a burgeoning market for green energy investments, but the policy has sparked a fierce battle over state authority to dictate wholesale power transactions. A federal case will determine whether the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act pre-empts states from requiring purchases that exceed utilities’ avoided cost.
Smart meters open the door to advance billing.
Investor-owned utility executives have long understood the benefits of prepaid metering, but technical and regulatory roadblocks have prevented wide-scale implementation. Now, however, two IOUs—Arizona Public Service and DTE—are planning prepaid metering programs that could be offered to all customers. Smart metering technology might pave the way for prepaid to become a standard service.