Calendar of Events

Jul 13, 2014 to Jul 16, 2014 | Dallas, TX
Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY

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Public Utilities Reports

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Economics

Flexible Pricing and PBR: Making Rate Discounts Fair for Core Customers

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.

Leasing the Loop: Telephone Service Resale in the Local Exchange

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.

Electric Competition in New Zealand: Putting Last Things First

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.

PL94-4: Pricing for New Pipeline Construction

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?

People

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.

Give No Credence to Lemons! Some Lessons in Market Research

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?

Electricity Utility Mergers: The Answer or the Question?

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.

Recovering Local Distribution Costs

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.

California DSM: A Pyrrhic Victory for Energy Efficiency?

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 $

Nuclear Registration: The Untold Story

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.

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