Calendar of Events

Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC
Oct 06, 2014 to Oct 08, 2014 | Los Angeles, CA

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Public Utilities Reports

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DC

CFOs speak out: Growth Strategy for the 21st Century

For The 21st Century
Richard Stavros

For The 21st Century

Interviews by

So it begins again. After several financially tumultuous years, executives at many of the nation's top utilities can once again look to the horizon and ask the growth question worthy of a Caesar: "What worlds to conquer?"

Utility executives are emboldened by bulging free cash flows, improved credit quality, lower operations and maintenance costs, favorable regulatory treatment, growing service territories, and increasing demand for power.

Solving The Crisis In Unscheduled Power

While NAESB and NERC struggle over the issue, North America steadily drifts toward unreliability.
Robert Blohm

While NAESB and NERC struggle over the issue, North America steadily drifts toward unreliability.

Time is running out. It's been more than two years since the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) Joint Inadvertent Interchange Taskforce (JIITF), on which I served, issued its white paper[1] proposing how to price the unscheduled power (inadvertent interchange)1 flowing between NERC-certified balancing authorities (BAs).

Commission Watch

Incentive regulation is not a cure-all for the continuing controversy over return on equity.
Jonathan A. Lesser

Commission Watch

Incentive regulation is not a cure-all for the continuing controversy over return on equity.

Regulated utilities are all too familiar with the contentious disputes that surround how the allowed return on equity (ROE) is set in a traditional cost-of-service setting. These disputes, which are reappearing as numerous utility rate-stabilization plans signed as part of deregulation come to an end, are likely to hinge, as always, on the riskiness of utility operating environments.

Triggering Nuclear Development

What construction cost might prompt orders for new nuclear power plants in Texas?
Geoffrey Rothwell

What construction cost might prompt orders for new nuclear power plants in Texas?

Electricity generation deregulation has opened U.S. wholesale electricity markets to unregulated power producers. In this uncertain environment, how should a generating company evaluate the risk of investing in new capacity?1

Commission Watch

California anticipates changes in energy policy under its new governor.
Gordon P. Erspamer

Commission Watch

California anticipates changes in energy policy under its new governor.

The recall of California Gov. Gray Davis in November 2003 almost immediately led to speculation concerning possible changes in California's energy policy. Since his election, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has assembled an Energy Working Group, co-chaired by Professor James L.

The Road Not Taken

Revisiting performance-based rates with endogenous market designs.
Francis J. Cronin and Stephen A. Motluk

Revisiting performance-based rates with endogenous market designs.

More than 20 years ago in the pages of this publication, economist William Baumol outlined a method by which the regulation of public utility monopolies could be streamlined while simultaneously providing incentives for efficiency and productivity growth.1 Baumol proposed a productivity incentive clause that adjusts rates automatically according to the formula,

Perspective

Two Cato analysts suggest a return to the past-vertical integration, but now with no state regulators.
Peter Van Doren and Jerry Taylor

Perspective

Two Cato analysts suggest a return to the past-vertical integration, but now with no state regulators.

The defeat of the energy bill in the Senate last year has thrown electricity restructuring back on its heels. There clearly is no consensus among politicians or academics regarding how this industry ought to be organized or how it might best be regulated. Finding our way out of this morass requires a reconsideration of how we got to this dismal point in our regulatory journey.

Commission Watch

FERC's AEP ruling begs the question: Can the feds bypass states that block transmission reform?
Lori A. Burkhart and Bruce W. Radford

Commission Watch

FERC's AEP ruling begs the question: Can the feds bypass states that block transmission reform?

In its search for the perfect power market, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) at last has joined the battle that lately has brought state and federal regulators nearly to blows. A recent ruling puts the question squarely on the table:

Generation Reserves: The Grid Security Question

A cost-benefit study shows the value of adding synchronized generating reserves to prevent blackouts on the scale of Aug.14.
Rajat K. Deb

A cost-benefit study shows the value of adding synchronized generating reserves to prevent blackouts on the scale of Aug.14.

If nothing else, the blackout of Aug. 14 showed just how physically vulnerable the electric transmission network has become to problems that begin at a very localized level. That vulnerability stems in part of the greater volume of long-distance transactions imposed on the grid by today's power industry.

Business & Money

FERC's ruling on cash management programs will introduce new transparency into how utilities manage their cash.
Richard Stavros

Business & Money

FERC's ruling on cash management programs will introduce new transparency into how utilities manage their cash.

On Oct. 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) ruled that FERC-regulated entities must file their cash management agreements with the commission and notify the commission within 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter when their proprietary capital ratio drops below 30 percent, and when it subsequently returns to or exceeds 30 percent.

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