The FERC Uncorked?
If you have quoted Commissioner Massey accurately ("Hoecker Takes FERC Helm, Makes Assignments," Inside Washington, Sept. 1, p. 53), there is the distinct possibility that he has drunk too much wine!
Milton J. Grossman
Editor's Note: Our associate legal editor, Lori A. Burkhart, confirms the quote (em "I've visited his house, I've swam in his pool, I've drank his wine" (em but protects her sources.
The board of the California ISO selected Jeffrey D. Tranen as its first CEO. Tranen is former president of the New England Power Co., senior v.p. of the New England Electric System and chair of NEPOOL. The ISO starts operation Jan. 1, 1998.
Charles F. Gay, Ph.D., former director of the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was hired as president and CEO of ASE Americas Inc. Klaus Albrecht, former president and CEO, will serve on ASE's board and as senior v.p.-business development.
Bruce W. Radford
I've been learning about venture capital funds for electric utilities. The lesson has run the gamut: from competition to cannibalization; from portfolios to the laws of thermodynamics; from the next new thing to the renaissance of a 19th-century technology.
Some might ask: Isn't venture capital just like gambling? Not so, say execs from two utilities now getting their feet wet in a venture fund. All the same, this story will take us to Atlantic City casinos before it's done.
Gregory S. Vassell
As one of the early voices in the "reliability debate," urging all of us not to lose sight of the importance of reliability of electric bulk power supply (see, for example, my article in the Oct. 11, 1990, issue of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of the Northeast Blackout of 1965), I applaud the FORTNIGHTLY for sponsoring a forum on "Reliability, Transmission and Competition" in its June 1, 1997 issue (p. 45). By doing so, your magazine has provided an important public service.
Alex Henney, Jeff Percival, and Ken Simmonds
In Norway and in England and Wales, power retailers are learning hard lessons.
The U.S. electric industry has long tried to follow Thomas Edison's dictum "to sell light instead of current" (em to get beyond the meter. But what is beyond the meter at industrial and commercial sites?
In energy-intensive industries one sees processes such as smelters, pulp mills, rolling mills, refineries and chemical plants. In general manufacturing, although some electricity is used for specialized electrotechnologies, most is used for lighting, motive power, computing and robotics.
President Clinton appointed James J. Hoecker chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Hoecker, former commissioner of the FERC, replaces Elizabeth Moler who was appointed deputy energy secretary at the Department of Energy.
Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College, was selected by Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peña to replace Robert Hanfling as chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Also at SEAB, Skila Harris was elected executive director. Prior to her election, Harris was special assistant to Vice President Al Gore.
Enron Corp. promoted Cynthia C.
Dr. William Ryan; and Ed Reid
Mr. Lindsay's March 1 letter (PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, p. 6) requires some further discussion. We do agree that reducing cooling seasonal peak electric demand is desirable. Lessening the electric infrastructure's environmental effects and electric system failures, as we witnessed in the summer of 1996, is to the public good. However, thermal storage systems have siting issues and the potential to run out of capacity at the worst possible time on peak days.
Bruce W. Radford
Speaking on June 11 in Washington, D.C., at a symposium sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rep. dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) was heard to say that he would have his electric restructuring bill out of committee by the end of July. He said his bill would mandate electric competition by 2000--just the sort of deadline that Texas Public Utility Commission Chair Robert Gee likes to call a "Hong Kong" clause.
Will the millennium bring the dawn of customer choice? Here we are, halfway through 1997. Hong Kong is now Chinese, but in America we are still ratepayers.
Kerry Diehl, and Rich Gillman
Loyalty may depend more on age group than anything else.
Utilities may want to start asking their customers some personal questions.
Such as: "How old are you?"
Why? Because customer behavior may have more to do with age and other demographics than anything. For instance, younger customers compose the highest-switching segment. However, older customers tend to have more loyalty. But so too, these loyal customers are the hardest to woo from another supplier.
Bruce W. Radford
Two months ago in this space, I interviewed a power marketer and an independent power producer who sit on the operating and engineering committees of the North American Electric Reliability Council. What did they think of NERC, a group formed to prevent large-scale power outages and made up largely of volunteers from investor-owned electric utilities? Were they treated fairly? Did they have a chance to influence policy?
In general, my two "outsiders" felt satisfied with their status on the committees, though some skepticism emerged about NERC's internal decision-making process.