Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
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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A Consumer Advocate's View: Decoupling and Energy Efficiency

Two sides of the same coin.

Janine Migden-Ostrander

When I became the Consumers’ Counsel for the state of Ohio in April 2004, natural-gas prices were hovering between $7/Mcf and $8/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). In the next year and a half, Ohioans saw gas prices double, peaking at a residential statewide average of $16.89/Mcf in the month of September 2005. The latter reflects the exacerbation of prices, already high, by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the gulf region. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the national security and energy independence issues that arise from these circumstances, but rather to examine what we can do in the United States to ensure affordable and reliable supplies for residential consumers in both the short and long term.

Warming to the Crisis

Kyoto countries miss their targets, but scientists say climate change was already unstoppable.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

Hollywood and the media are way ahead of the politicians when it comes to the greenhouse effect and global warming. But even as utilities try to be good corporate citizens and help devise a federal or national plan, the question remains as to whether the domestic economy can achieve even a modest reduction in CO2 releases—enough to put even a small dent in current predictions of global climate change.

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

In “Rate-Base Cleansings: Rolling Over Ratepayers” (November 2005, p.58), Michael Majoros urges state public utility commissions to recognize a refundable regulatory liability for past charges to ratepayers for non-legal asset retirement costs.

A Hard Look at BPL: Utilities Speak Out

After closer study of the technology’s ongoing implementation and obstacles, the crystal ball remains cloudy.
By Christian Hamaker

What will it take for broadband over power line (BPL) technology to take hold? Is BPL on track to become, as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) once contemplated, the “third broadband pipe into residential consumers’ homes, providing significant competition for cable and DSL service,” and an integral part of the 21st century “smart grid”?

The Art of Gas Storage Valuation

Benefits and drawbacks of the most popular estimation methods or modeling techniques.

Christopher Athaide

Before we go about trying to value natural-gas storage, we should try and come up with a list of important considerations in any valuation process. Also, the data requirements should be modest, and the calculation time should be reasonable. But not all gas storage valuations are created equal.

Encore for Negawatts?

Congress renews PURPA’s call for conservation and load management, but the world has changed since the 1970s.

Bruce W. Radford

The “N-word” in the title first appeared in this journal more than 20 years ago, courtesy of the celebrated environmentalist Amory Lovins and his widely quoted piece, “Saving Gigabucks with Negawatts” (Fortnightly, 1985). Scroll forward a few decades. With restructuring of wholesale electric markets at FERC, plus formation of regional transmission organizations and independent system operators, the game was changed.

Natural-Gas Procurement: A Hard Look at Incentive Mechanisms

Better designs are needed to realize the goal of lower-cost gas.

Ken Costello and James F. Wilson

A gas procurement incentive mechanism that provides strong incentives for a broad range of procurement-related costs and revenues, using a benchmark that is both exogenous and adaptive to external circumstances, can benefit consumers.

Rate-Case Mania: Lessons for a New Generation

Ahmad Faruqui and Robert Earle

This overview of ratemaking and rate-design principles should ease the myriad tasks awaiting new rate analysts and attorneys, while provoking nostalgia among industry veterans still manning the ratemaking stations.

Cutting Costs With Real-Time Mobile Data

All systems are Reddy.

Peter Manos

Miscellaneous distribution operations expenses totaled $878 million in 2004— the largest single element of the distribution operations expenditures. Greater integration of real-time data can bring such costs under control.

Before the Utility Merger: Thinking Through IT Integration

The way senior tech executives and business managers define success has changed.

Gary A. Curtis and Robert Laurens

Alignment of the business and the information technology (IT) functions within a company is critical to the effectiveness of any strategic initiative. Three years ago, our research identified a number of best practices in IT integration, as they affected M&A execution. What changed, according to our new survey, is the way senior IT executives and senior business managers define success in a merger transaction. With so much at stake in any merger, the distinctions between these two important management constituencies are critical.

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