Calendar of Events

Nov 24, 2014 | Washington, DC
Dec 08, 2014 to Dec 09, 2014 | Washington, DC
Jan 14, 2015 to Jan 16, 2015 | San Diego, CA

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Public Utilities Reports

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Congress

Bureaucrats, Pols Spar on DOE's Future

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Sec. O'Leary says "strategic alignment" is trimming the budget;

GAO remains unsure whether Department is "truly committed."

Department of Energy (DOE) officials and like-minded politicians joined to defend the agency against Senate and House bills that would dismantle the department (em and its $17-billion annual price tag.

On September 4, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted hearings on S. 1678, The Department of Energy Abolishment Act.

Generation, Deregulation, and Market Power: Will Antitrust Laws Fill the Void?

Stephen L. Teichler

Monopoly rents? Not in the short run. The real enemy is a price war, fueled by indifference to stranded costs. And when that happens, antitrust laws won't offer much help.Competition has formally begun in the electric service industry. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued Order 888, giving generators access to wholesale loads throughout the nation.

Electric Industry Splits Over National Choice Bill

Lori A. Burkhart

Schaefer measure wins praise from UtiliCorp, Enron, and others, but EEI wants relief on stranded costs."The Electricity Consumers Power to Choose Act," introduced by Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO), while designed to bring competition to the electric industry, has definitely attracted controversy. The bill has evoked strong reactions from industry players as well as intense lobbying efforts on the part of promoters and detractors. Everyone, it seems, wants to put in their two cents as the bill makes its way across Capitol Hill.

Unions and Deregulations: Some Lessons for Utilities

Ronald M. Johnson

Labor got on well with monopoly.

But now, if experience is any guide,

expect a stiff fight for benefits, jobs, and wages.

At this very moment, utility chief executive officers (CEOs) are planning for the future.

Reps. Ask FERC for PURPA Reforms

Lori A. Burkhart

Eleven members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to Chair Elizabeth A. Moler asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address competitive issues arising from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).

Lakehead Pipe Line Appeals FERC Ruling

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has refused to rehear or modify a June 15, 1995, rate order (Opinion 397) that denied Lakehead Pipe Line Partners, L.P. any income-tax allowance related to "curative allocations" under section 704(c) of the Internal Revenue Code that increase the general partner's taxable income beyond his or her proportion of company ownership.

The ruling (Opinion 397-A) affirms Lakehead's entitlement to a tax allowance based on the income attributable to corporate partners, but imposes a limit.

Research and Renewables: Funding at the National Energy Labs

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Shrinking budgets force staff cuts, but some projects

find friends in high places.

"They're putting the best face on the inevitable."

Funding for renewable energy for government/ industry research partnerships took another beating early this summer (em and that's on top of a $113-million cut suffered this fiscal year.

Schaefer Pushes Restructuring

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO), closed his final hearing on electric industry restructuring with what sounded like a promise to push utilities down the bumpy path of retail wheeling.

"My vision for the future is one where all consumers have the ability to pick and choose among numerous competitive suppliers of electricity," Schaefer said. "It is one where all consumers have the benefit of lower rates, better services, and new innovations brought on by competition . . .

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

That's how fast the money pours in to the nation's Nuclear Waste Disposal Fund, one mill at a time. And the money is attracting attention, especially during this election year, with Congress running out of time before its planned August recess.

"Today has been extremely rich in terms of rumors," said Mike McCarthy, administrator of the Nuclear Waste Strategy Coalition, when I talked with him on June 28.

"The leadership in the House and Senate have met. People seem to be adjusting their schedules.

State PUCs: Still Setting the Agenda

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Quizzed by lawmakers, and buffeted by political winds, regulators ponder an uncertain future.

Agree or not, utility commissioners are part judge, part regulator, and part politician.

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