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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DOE

GAO Study Fans Latest Fire to Threaten Federal PMAs

Lori A. Burkhart

But preference customers still remain a "vocal political force."

With eyes turned again toward Congress, and possible energy legislation, opponents have thrown up yet another challenge to the sale of low-cost, allegedly subsidized power by the federal power marketing administrations. This time, congressional foes of PMAs have gained allies in several investor-owned utilities and in the findings of a report from the U.S. General Accounting Office, requested last year by Congress to aid its deliberations on electric restructuring.

News Digest

Carl J. Levesque, Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Studies & Reports

Year 2000 Readiness. On Jan. 11 the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) predicted a minimal effect on electric system operations from Y2K software problems. The Department of Energy, which had asked NERC to run the electric industry assessment, added that 98 percent of U.S.

Special Report

Courtney Barry

September meeting sends draft legislation back to the drawing board.

Reliability is a self-correcting issue (em if we let it slide, something will happen and it will be corrected ¼ [But] do you want the government to do it?"

That was one industry representative speaking of attempts by the North American Electric Reliability Council (known as NERC) to evolve into a self-regulating reliability organization, or SRRO.

Solar Mandate? Like it or Not, Consumers Pay

William A. Spratley

States earmark millions to fund solar projects via system benefits charges.

Making solar power a realistic choice for electric consumers is a burgeoning issue for state utility regulators. As part of electric restructuring, regulators are trying to finance the costs of solar installations.

Key to delivering commercial, on-grid solar power to new markets are state efforts, partnered with other government and industry actions. So far, the system benefits charge, or SBC, is the primary short-term incentive to develop solar, wind, biomass and other renewable resources.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

State PUCs

Electric Retail Choice. The Arkansas Public Service Commission has issued its final report on electric restructuring, citing a "broad" consensus favoring competition. It predicts immediate benefits for industrial customers, but warns that residential users likely will not see any quick rate cut. The PSC saw competition as consistent with action in neighboring states:

• Oklahoma. State law mandates retail choice by July 1, 2002.

• Mississippi. PSC plan would phase-in competition from 2001 to 2004.

• Missouri.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

The FERC's latest idea throws pipelines for a loop, with implications for power markets, too.

Transmission and distribution (em the business they call "pipes and wires" (em can't last much longer with rates set by cost of service. Contrary to the myth, these services deserve no special status due to their high embedded costs. They carry no intrinsic value apart from the electrons and molecules they deliver.

News Analysis

Bruce W. Radford

We are the world's experts on contingencies," boasted Michehl Ghent, president of the North American Electric Reliability Council, appearing in Houston on Sept. 17 at the Sixth Annual DOE/NARUC Electricity Forum. It was the very day day that NERC released its first comprehensive report on readiness in the electric utility industry in correcting computer software problems associated with the dawning the next century, which for the first time will require computers, software programs and embedded chips to the use four digits to identify the year beginning with turnover from 1999 to 2000.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Federal Agencies

NOX EMISSIONS. Generating heavy criticism from industry, on September 24 the Environmental Protection Agency released its long-awaited final rules on nitrogen oxide emissions, outlining a plan to reduce NOx by 28 percent by year 2007 in some 22 states and the District of Columbia, with state implementation plans due by September 1999 and controls in place by 2003, to be carried out through a "cap and trade" program to buy and sell NOx emissions credits.

News Digest

Bruce W. Radford

MARKING THE FIRST CASE of a voluntary agreement in a region not previously organized as a tight power pool, or compelled to act by state legislation, a group of 10 operating electric utilities won approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on September 16 to form the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc., which will take over operational control of certain defined jurisdictional transmission facilities, provided that it complies with conditions imposed by the FERC.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

"THESE ARE THE DOG DAYS OF DEREGULATION." That's how Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman James Hoecker put it last month in Houston at his luncheon talk at the Sixth DOE/NARUC National Electricity Forum. He bemoaned the "evidence of delay" in restructuring that now "clearly exists."

Don't be fooled. What Hoecker has up his sleeve is nothing less than a full-scale overhaul of FERC Orders 888 and 889.

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