Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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Energy Policy Act

NERC Knows Best?

FERC this year must select a reliability czar. But the obvious choice could prove less than ideal.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

NERC up until now has been, in its own words, “a self regulatory organization, relying on reciprocity, peer pressure, and the mutual self-interest of all those involved in the electric system.” Nevertheless, can this tradition of kind, gentle, and voluntary consensus-building stand NERC in good stead as it seeks to transform itself in to a steel-fisted czar that would enforce mandatory standards?

Electric Transmission: Building the Next Interstate System

We must efficiently deliver wholesale power within competitive regional markets.

Michael G. Morris

When President Eisenhower was growing up in Kansas, he saw America’s byways and back roads develop to meet point-to-point needs, eventually forming a loosely connected national interstate highway network. The U.S. electric transmission system has similar roots, and it needs a similar vision to meet the needs of the 21st century.

Tariff Tinkering

FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.

Bruce W. Radford

When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?

Focus on LNG Siting: A State Perspective

Congress revamps LNG and storage, giving broad new powers to FERC. Why the Feds still must consult with local authorities.

Ken Costello

A major objective of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) is to counter the worsened conditions in the natural-gas market that began in 2000 and are expected to continue over the next several years—namely, tight natural-gas supplies and high, volatile gas prices caused by a distinct shift in the supply-demand balance. Any noticeable reductions in gas prices that might be effectuated by the act will have little impact on natural-gas prices for a number of years.

The Gas Storage Conundrum

Congress allows market-based rates. How will FERC respond?

J. Michel Marcoux

As a rare amendment to a venerable statute, EPACT05 § 312, New Natural Gas Storage Facilities, made headlines, adding an option for interstate, market-based storage rate making. It would encourage new storage facilities by permitting FERC to authorize market-based storage rates, even when the applicant is unable to demonstrate it lacks market power. After authorizing such rates, FERC periodically must review them.The problem with the new law is that it does not specify those review periods.

Frontlines

Is the predicted crisis this winter a failure of policy, the market, or both?

Richard Stavros

Given the free market in natural gas, why haven't prices attracted the needed infrastructure or supply? (LNG imports are actually down from last year.) What policies could have been contemplated ahead of national legislation? Or put more simply, why has supply lagged demand?

Power Measurements

The new Clean Air Interstate Rule is having an unexpected impact on power generation asset values.

Gary L. Hunt

With compliance costs estimated at $50 billion to $60 billion during the next 15 years, the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) affects just about every market participant in the electric power industry.

CFOs Speak Out: Looking Beyond Power

Chief financial officers discuss new strategies and the possibility of further convergence inside and outside the energy industry.

Richard Stavros

A whole new cast of characters is expected to enter the energy industry—overseas ventures, telecom firms, insurance companies, and financial-services groups. But even as the future seems to hold boundless opportunity, utility executives and industry experts continue to disagree on what sort of consolidation is right.

Utility M&A: How Many Deals, and How Soon?

By opening the field to far-flung deals, PUHCA’s repeal changes the merger game.

Michael T. Burr

The repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act has attracted a surprising amount of attention in the business and consumer press. But while some analysts predict a wave of utility M&A activity, others are more sanguine about the change.

Following Up on a Capital Performance

Utility stocks have outperformed the broader market. Can the industry deliver a show-stopping second act?

Paul Donahue

The utility sector has been one of the best performing sectors in the equity capital markets for more than two years. In many respects, this has been a case of the rising tide lifting all ships.

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