Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Private Equity Still Strong

Volatile markets create investment openings.

By Jay Radtke

(June 2008) As fossil fuel prices continue increasing and alternative energy gathers momentum, the energy and utility industries can expect to see continued interest from private-equity firms. Over the last five years, record levels of private-equity investments have been used to buy power plants, as well as other utility assets and energy product manufacturing facilities. These once-overlooked industries suddenly are hotspots for private-equity investment.

Energy Technology: Cultivating Clean Tech

New Models for Energy RD&D: A new ‘Clean Energy Institute’ could lead the industry’s war on climate change.

John A. Bewick

Clean-energy R&D needs better funding and leadership to meet aggressive greenhouse-gas emissions reduction targets. But how does the industry get there, and what management model best suits achieving such lofty goals? A new ‘clean-energy institute’ might be the answer.

No Generator Left Behind

A new theory on capacity markets and the missing money.

Bruce W. Radford

On Wednesday May 7, FERC will host a conference in Washington, D.C. that might prove extraordinary. The commission staff promises not only to review the forward capacity markets now operating in New England and PJM—each a story unto itself—but also to discuss a new rate-making theory that has come virtually out of nowhere and which proposes to help solve the notorious “missing money” problem.

Selling the Smart Grid - The Policy

Why many state regulators still have qualms about endorsing smart meters.

Bruce W. Radford

A year ago, in its formal investigation of state policy on smart meters, the Florida Public Service Commission conceded that while three of the state’s five major investor-owned electric utilities offered an optional time-of-use rate to residential customers, participation in fact remained “typically quite small,” averaging only about 1 percent.

Facing Compliance Risks

Enforcement trends call for a proactive approach to complying with market rules.

Howard Friedman

Federal regulators have penalized wholesale energy market participants with fines ranging from $300 thousand to $300 million over the past two years. The magnitude of the penalties, along with uncertainty over how to effectively mitigate the risk of any civil action by regulators, has raised concern about how companies are approaching their regulatory obligations.

Setting the Standard

NERC’s new cyber security rules may minimize cost of compliance, but they leave utilities guessing on how to identify risks.

Bruce W. Radford

Liam Baker, vice president for regulatory affairs at US Power Generating, questions whether his company’s power plants and control systems in New York and Massachusetts must comply with the electric industry’s new mandatory standards for cyber security. Baker voiced his doubts in written comments he filed in October with FERC.

2025: A Murky Mix

Which power technologies will dominate?

David J. Walls, John Higgins and Steven Tobias

U.S. power-plant construction tends to follow fads. Identifying these trends is easier than determining the primary drivers and issues that contributed to them. Understanding how these drivers affect power-planning decisions can help utilities predict generation-construction trends in the future and avoid getting caught in a group-think trap.

Regulators Forum: Restructuring Rollback

State-policy turmoil reshapes utility markets.

Lori A. Burkhart

As many states move toward re-regulation, we speak to commissioners in Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia to learn how policies are evolving—and how far the regulatory shakeup will go

People

(November 2007) Pacific Gas and Electric Co. elected William D. Arndt to the newly established post of vice president, project management and program office. Calpine Corp. promoted Zamir Rauf to treasurer and senior vice president of finance. FirstEnergy Corp. named William D. Byrd director of rate strategy, vice president and chief risk officer. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission assigned David Dumbacher as senior resident inspector at the Callaway nuclear plant, near Fulton, Mo. And others...

Messing With Texas

Armed with calls for gas price transparency, FERC takes aim at intrastate pipelines—the long-forgotten and largely private preserve of the Lone Star State.

Bruce W. Radford

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has proposed to bring a modicum of federal oversight to the nation’s intrastate natural-gas pipelines. Given the historical structure and regulation of the nation’s natural-gas industry, it should come as no surprise that FERC’s proposal has polarized the industry in general and the state of Texas in particular.

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