AFTER A FOUR-YEAR DEBATE ON ELECTRICITY REFORM, CALIfornia's powerful industry players have carved out a unique and broad new role for "scheduling coordinators." SCs have the central role in offering fully unbundled generation, transmission and retail-access services. But could these SCs, by controlling the market, also become the new monopolists?
California's highly complex scheme for markets, while said to be laissez faire, maintains several artificial constraints and market protocols that create advantages for SCs.
RHODE ISLAND'S CUSTOMER CHOICE PROGRAM FOR LARGE-industrial and government consumers is five months old. California consumers will see retail choice on Jan. 1. New York, Illinois, Idaho and Washington have pilot programs well under way. And a statewide pilot program was set to begin this month in Pennsylvania.
Yet retail choice may prove vulnerable in New Hampshire (em the one state that has shown the greatest commitment to retail choice.
Nearly a year and a half after passage of the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, real competition has yet to emerge in Indiana in local telephone markets, according to a report issued by the Indiana Regulatory Commission.
Nevertheless, the U.R.C. says it anticipates making competitive choices available to local consumers in the coming months.
Three weeks ago I traveled to Indianapolis to Speak at the Indiana Energy Conference, a meeting sponsored by the Citizens Action Coalition and a board group from the local gas and electric industries, including a fair number of state government employees. Focusing on issues largely specific to Indiana, that audience gave the meeting a novel perspective: What's a low-cost state to do?
Competition from Order 636 has gas customers rethinking their firm capacity options.
Just when everyone thought we had put Order 636 behind us, up pops perhaps our greatest challenge yet: the turnback (or "decontracting") of firm capacity on interstate natural gas pipelines. This phenomenon, now emerging on a few major pipelines, such as Transwestern, El Paso, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, inspires different reactions.
On November 7, 1995, voters in Aberdeen, NJ, went to the polls to elect local and state officials. Also on the ballot were public questions (em including one asking Aberdeen residents whether the township should build or acquire electric transmission and distribution facilities. Eighty-six percent of the voters nixed the idea. What follows is a case study of how the issue got on the ballot and how the local utility defeated the effort. The story reveals what it takes to defeat a municipalization drive: support from municipal government, the public, and your union.
Philip R. O'Connor, Erik B. Jacobson, and Terrence L. Barnich
Twenty-five centuries ago, 300 steadfast Spartans, defending their sacred Greek turf, held up Xerxes's Persian army at the pass at Thermopylae just long enough for the Persians to lose the opportunity to conquer Greece. The world would have been quite different if the Spartans had just "given way."Contemporary state public utility regulators number just about that of those plucky Spartans.
In the utility industry's brave new world of deregulation, information technology (IT) (em and, specifically, "outsourcing" (em has acquired an entirely new meaning.
IT has become strategic. And important. So important that utility companies are seeking outside expertise to help them leverage technology to conduct business more efficiently, help grow revenues, and hone their edge in the new competitive world. Time has become an unaffordable luxury.
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