Utility turbines bridge the capacity gap.
Utilities are turning to natural gas as a bridge fuel, and to support non-dispatchable renewables.
New rate structures prioritize conservation, but will customers buy it?
As saving energy becomes a policy priority, utility commissioners struggle to reconcile traditional revenue models with smart metering and smart pricing. Unlocking conservation potential will depend on transforming passive ratepayers into smart consumers. Fortnightly hosts a roundtable discussion with commissioners from six states.
(November 2008) Atmos Energy promoted Kim R. Cocklin to the new position of president and COO. Exelon Corp. named Christopher M. Crane president and COO. Public Service Enterprise Group elected Thomas P. Joyce as president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear. Northeast Utilities (NU) announced new leadership for Yankee Gas Services Co. and Western Mass Electric Co. And others...
Vendors battle it out while utilities await common communications protocols.
Uncertainties about smart metering goals are hindering efforts to standardize communications protocols and feature sets. While vendors battle over standards, utilities and policy makers are moving forward anyway—despite the potential for setbacks.
Is electricity price-elastic enough for rate designs to matter?
Contrary to conventional wisdom, electricity demand isn’t immune to price elasticity, and rate designs can encourage conservation. In particular, inclining block rates coupled with dynamic pricing can cut electric use by as much as 20 percent.
State and federal incentives push utilities to invest in grid intelligence.
State and federal incentives provide the carrot for utilities to invest in grid intelligence. But regulatory and technological incentives are not enough without customer participation. Smart-grid policies will succeed only by focusing on customer needs and benefits.
FirstEnergy Corp. named Dennis L. Dabney its vice-president of human resources. Northeast Utilities announced Johnny D. Magwood as its first chief customer officer. AES appointed Ned Hall its executive vice president and president of its wind generation division. Intrepid Technology and Resources named Jack Haffey as its chief executive officer. And others...
Volatile markets are causing delays, but most deals are moving forward.
Although problems in the power business grabbed the headlines early this decade, the industry now seems fundamentally strong. In contrast to their ratings of banks, rating agencies appear to have recently upgraded more of the electric sector than they have downgraded. It remains a strong investment grade, usually BB or BBB. For an index of 68 electric utilities, the debt-to-equity ratio averaged only 55:45 and return on equity exceeded over 13 percent through January.
Southern Company named Ronnie Labrato vice president, internal auditing. FirstEnergy’s board of directors elected Gary R. Leidich executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Generation, and Richard R. Grigg executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Utilities. Exelon named Ian P. McLean to lead its finance and markets organization. And others...
January’s debt-issue activity portends a rush on the markets later this year.
Something seemed rotten in December. Fortnightly’s survey of utility and financial deals for that month turned up so few debt issues, we wondered if our research methods were failing. We found only one significant utility bond issue during the month; Allegheny’s West Penn Power issued $275 million in 10-year notes. December’s deathly quiet raised questions about whether we were missing most of the deals.