Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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Wall Street's Egalitarian View

Investors are making little distinction between regulated or unregulated business strategies. One banker suggests it will be difficult to stand out.
By Richard Stavros

It seems history does repeat itself all too often. In the late1990s, a common complaint by utility CEOs was that utility price-to-earnings (P/E) multiples did not take into account whether a com- pany was a pure-play regulated utility, a diversified utility with a merchant subsidiary, or something else. Many say investors at the time just didn’t understand the different business models that were emerging after electric restructuring.

Special Section On Metering: Thinking Smart

Legislation and technology developments give a jump-start to smart metering
By Michael T. Burr

What a difference a year makes. In 2004, automated metering infrastructure (AMI) was in something of a slump, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an uptick in natural disasters, and encouraging results from pilot projects have strengthened the business case for investing in AMI.

What a difference a year makes.

In 2004, the automated metering industry was in something of a slump. After the 2003 Northeast blackout, and facing rising gas prices and diminished investor confidence during a time of war, many utilities put automated meter reading (AMR) on the back burner.

A Candy-Coated Grid

Incentives for transmission investment could boost postage-stamp pricing over license-plate rates.

Bruce W. Radford

FERC proposed a new set of regulations, under the new section 219 of the Federal Power Act, explaining in broad outline how it might approve generous financial incentives for new investments in transmission—incentives once dubbed as “candy.” As of mid-January, the new NOPR had spawned more industry comment than just about any other FERC proposal in recent memory.

Long-Term Transmission Rights: A High-Stakes Debate

The absence of long-term transmission rights could exclude potential competition—and cause higher electricity costs.

Laurence D. Kirsch

Power-industry restructuring redistributed financial uncertainties that discourage generation investment and ultimately raise the price of electricity to consumers.

LNG's Final Hurdle

Interchangeability issues threaten to delay vitally needed LNG projects.

Jake Dweck and David Wochner

Gas composition issues have become a significant hurdle for the industry. Resolving these challenges will not be easy, requiring all stakeholders to apply a thoughtful approach to understanding the issues.

People

(March 2006) FirstEnergy Corp. named Bennett L. Gaines vice president and CIO. PPL Corp. named Matt Simmons vice president and controller. NorthWestern Corp., d/b/a NorthWestern Energy, named D. Louis Peoples to its board of directors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards re-elected Dr. Graham B. Wallis as chairman, Dr. William J. Shack as vice-chairman, and John D. Sieber as member-at-large. And others...

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.

Rising Unit Costs & Credit Quality: Warning Signals

With increasing unit costs, the financial prospects and credit outlook for many utilities will depend on their success in passing along such costs to consumers.

Ellen Lapson

The utility sector still has excellent access to the capital and credit markets. Yet, it is never safe to assume utilities will continue to enjoy the same low costs of capital. This is particularly true for companies facing compressed margins, regulatory deferrals or disallowances, and rising debt leverage.

Tariff Tinkering

FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?

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