Tim Woolf, and Julie Michals
With competition looming, electric utilities increasingly resort to price discounts, both to retain customers and to alleviate some of the pressure to introduce retail competition. Performance-based ratemaking (PBR), which allows utilities greater flexibility in offering price discounts, is emerging as an integral component of many restructuring proposals.
However, flexible pricing can create inequity among ratepayers.
Terrence J. Schroepfer, and Margarete Z. Starkey
LEASING THE LOOP:
Telephone Service Resale in the Local ExchangeResellers want steep discounts, but local rates don't always cover costs. And reselling local lines provides little incentive
to upgrade the network.The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act) compels local exchange carriers (LECs) to sell telephone service to competitors (em who would then resell to the public at retail. Instead of constructing their own local distribution networks, competitors would buy local telephone service from the existing carrier at discounted rates.
Chris Pleatsikas, and Bruce Turner
First it deregulated generation.
Then distribution (no more exclusive franchise).
Only now is New Zealand turning
to the wholesale market.
A decade ago New Zealand's economy was suffering from prolonged stagnation. The country relied too much on the public sector.
Jeffrey S. Hitchings
On May 31, 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its Statement of Policy in Docket No. PL94-4-000, Pricing Policy for New and Existing Facilities Constructed by Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines.1 In that decision, the FERC sought to provide upfront rate certainty, thereby giving pipelines and shippers a firm basis for making decisions on large-scale investments.
But is that objective realistic?
Susan F. Tierney, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, has joined The Economics Resource Group, Inc. as a managing consultant.
UGI Corp. has hired William D. Katz as v.p.-corporate development. He succeeds R. Paul Grady, now v.p.-sales/
operations of UGI's AmeriGas Propane subsidiary.
Stephen D. Chesebro', Tenneco Energy's CEO, was promoted to chairman. Edward J. Casey, Jr. joins the company as president and COO.
James A. Montanye
Theory and experience teach that commercial market research
can be of very poor quality. What does that mean
for regulators and utility managers?
How can regulators and utility managers know whether and to what extent to trust commercially prepared market research?
Robert J. Michaels
Differences of opinion make for good horse races and bad jokes about economists, and those who are studying the recent wave of electric utility merger announcements have not let us down. Some of these economists optimistically believe that the mergers act as forces for competition, since they will combine corporate assets and staffs to bolster operating efficiency and market acumen at the merged companies. Other economists, who see transmission as the root of monopoly power, are more pessimistic.
Steve G. Parsons
In electric power, telecommunications, water, and natural gas, the costs of local distribution make up a significant share of the cost of providing services. For any network or system, the cost of distribution facilities is largely or entirely independent on usage; i.e., such costs are largely invariant to the number of phone calls, kilowatts, British thermal units (BTUs), or gallons that customers use.
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
California has led the nation in utility expenditures for ratepayer-subsidized energy conservation, also called
demand-side management (DSM).1
With broad-based support from utilities, consumer representatives, environmentalists, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), some $1.8 billion has been spent since 1990 (and $
Michael R. Fox
Last year was pivotal for nuclear power. On May 13, 1994, the board of directors of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) voted 9-4 to terminate reactors WNP-1 and WNP-3, triggering a dismantling of the two mothballed reactors, both about 70 percent complete. For ratepayers in the Pacific Northwest, the decision offered no relief from bills for construction of the two plants (em recently estimated at about $350 million per year for the next 24 years1. In many ways, WPPSS and its troubled history is a microcosm of the U.S.