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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Congress

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Did you see Enron's new TV ad when it aired last month during the Super Bowl? What a dud. I had heard about Enron's big pitch (em in fact, I was watching carefully for the ad when, early during the first quarter, here comes this scene of an electric utility power plant control room with a hamster running in place on a wheel inside a cage, trying to reach a bottle of beer standing on a pedestal a few inches away.

Whoa now! Can this be true?

Legislative Hot Spots: From Texas to Ohio, New Jersey to Minnesota, Electric Restructuring Games Begin

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Perhaps the only political prediction bound to come true this year is that the words ôelectric restructuringö will reverberate in nearly every stateÆs legislative chamber.

So says Matthew Brown, director of the energy project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But other factors support BrownÆs prediction. Public Utilities FortnightlyÆs informal survey of most states turned up similar results. Legislators know that the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Congress plan to introduce a federal bill this year.

Consumer Group Asks SEC To Stop Southern Co.'s Asia Move

Lori A. Burkhart

A Georgia-based consumer advocacy group, the Campaign for a Prosperous Georgia (CPG), has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to halt a move by The Southern Company to use up to 100 percent of its retained earnings for a $2.75 billion acquisition of 80 percent of the Asian utility company, Consolidated Electric Power of Asia.

Among other claims, CPG wants the SEC to reconsider an April 1996 decision that granted an exemption to The Southern Company from the provisions of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA).

Worries in Congress.

Special Report

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Bonneville Power "Subscriptions" Seen Among Sticky Issues

A panel of governors in the Pacific Northwest expects to issue a plan this month that proposes a restructured Bonneville Power Administration, primed for the regional free-market electric economy.

The panel would act on a steering committee report that resolved pressing energy matters in the Northwest. But the committee report left open other issues that some say could leave the BPA's future in doubt.

Perspective

Keith E. Bailey

Let's hope that by now we all prefer market solutions to government mandates. Markets are generally more efficient and equitable. Recent experiences with deregulation for airlines and telecommunications have vindicated Adam Smith's notion that the "invisible hand" can prove superior to regulation.

Unfortunately, this knowledge offers little comfort today to natural gas pipelines (em even to those companies not saddled with a surplus of transportation capacity.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Ever since word hit the street last July that Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) would merge with gas industry giant Enron, the news has been rather one-sided. It's been "Enron this" and "Enron that." From reading the papers one might think Enron, with its strong reputation as a commodities trader, was buying an entire electric utility simply to take a bigger position on the NYMEX futures market.

Majority Whip Introduces Restructuring Bill

Lori A. Burkhart

Signaling the direction he believes the 105th Congress should take, Rep. Tom DeLay

(R-TX) on the last day of the 104th Congress introduced legislation, H.R. 4297, "The Consumers Electric Power Act," to bring competition to the nation's electric industry.

It's a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric "Efficiency".

Mark E. Krebs

How the electric industry uses DSM and IRP to build load, ignoring basic truths found in fuel-cycle analysis.It was during the early 19th century that General von Clausewitz announced his nine principles of warfare.

1996 Regulators' Forum

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

As electric restructuring rockets to the top of state public utility commission agendas, regulators find themselves pushed in every direction. Pushing the hardest, in most cases, are legislators, who, like commissioners, are being lobbied by utilities, industrial consumers, and sometimes, residential customers. Each party has its agenda. Some wield more clout than others.

Public Utilities Fortnightly asked eight commissioners about the demands of restructuring and about an issue particular to their state.

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Comments by P.

Competition, Confusion, and Chaos: The Metering Muddle

Alex Henney

With no system in place to collect data, retail choice brought gridlock to England and Wales in 1994.

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