Competitive market problems and their implications for customers’ net costs.
Hyde M. Merrill and Richard D. Tabors
In competitive power markets based on locational marginal pricing (LMP), the facts sometimes conflict with popular belief. Most notably: 1. When there’s congestion, the books don’t balance, and ratepayers always pay more than the generators receive. The difference is sometimes called “congestion cost.” 2. Congestion in a competitive market doesn’t necessarily increase ratepayers’ costs; and 3. Reductions in LMP are incomplete and sometimes misleading measures of economic benefits of transmission upgrades. These three facts and their implications should be considered in transmission planning, market design, tariffs, and system operations.
Smart-grid technologies will dismantle the regulated utility business model, says economist Lynne Kiesling.
When consultants start talking about creating new service models, the eyes of utility executives and regulators tend to glaze over. But that is destined to change, according to Lynne Kiesling, a Ph.D. economist and senior lecturer at Northwestern University. The primary reason: smart metering.
More consolidation could trim costs, but some CEOs fear a backlash from regulators.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
With the possible exception of keeping the lights on, the merger game dwarfs just about every other question facing today’s electric utilities. The last big wave of consolidation hit in the late 1990s. Now the forecast calls for a repeat performance, but don’t bet the farm. There’s a hitch, you see. It’s today’s high commodity costs.
Seven years after restructuring, challenges remain. Should the region stay the course?
Electric restructuring—identified in some quarters with Enron, California, and the August 2003 blackout—has brought significant, measurable benefits to us in New England. Seven years after restructuring began, it's a good time to assess the challenges that remain and gauge whether to stay the course toward continued restructuring.
Reviewing FERC's omnipotence over markets.
Reviewing FERC's omnipotence over markets: Market players like Calpine say standard market design (SMD) and RTO issues "while laudable and important objectives … will do little to enhance wholesale competition if contract sanctity is not assured."
Five suppliers are left. But that works when the utility gets out of the supply business.
Emily A. Bartman and George R. Hall
After the Shakeout: Another Look at the Georgia Gas Market
The spectre of retail competition in electricity presents some difficult but solvable technical problems in creating new markets. It could lead to a new world of regulation. At the least, it will expose some currently protected utilities to potential losses that could prove substantial.
This prospect of losses has inspired some high-cost utilities to mount a formidable defense of the status quo, coupled with an aggressive offense to shape the transition.
Alexander C. Larson
In telecommunications, regulators turn increasingly to the nebulous term known as "cost-based" to set pricing policy. An example is the new Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act), whose pricing standards for interconnection and network element charges stipulate that the just and reasonable rate for the interconnection of facilities and equipment should be "based on the cost ...
Kenneth W. Costello
The debate over restructuring the electric industry has encompassed a revisiting of the traditional rate-of-return (ROR) pricing model. Parties of widely divergent interests increasingly advocate alternatives. Under the label "performance-based regulation," these new pricing models share the objective of strengthening incentives for electric utilities incentives to pursue some specified "socially desirable" outcome.
Bruce W. Radford
And wires in the air. Together they form the interstate natural gas pipelines and the electric transmission grid. When the talk turns to deregulation, whether on the gas or the electric side, the pipelines and the transmission grid are almost always voted "most likely to." That is, to remain regulated monopolies (em with cost-of-service rates protected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Let's have a look at that idea.
The FERC has unbundled gas commodity sales from pipeline transportation.