With looming mandates and aging infrastructure, utilities need regulatory support.
H. Edwin Overcast
NextEra Energy sells interest in gas-fired generating portfolio; Direct Energy acquires Texas retailer First Choice Power; Pattern Energy teams with Samsung to buy Ontario wind farm; plus bond offerings from Progress Energy, PG&E, LG&E, and others totaling $1.9 billion. The public policy rationale for the regulatory compact is more compelling than ever, as governments look to utilities to serve as instruments of public policy in such areas as renewable resources, conservation and efficiency, and environmental regulation. But utilities can't perform these functions if they can't recover their costs and maintain access to capital. The industry needs to restore balance to the regulatory compact in order for utilities to continue providing superior value for customers.
The D.C. Circuit once observed that the Mobile-Sierra doctrine is “refreshingly simple.” In fact, however, the doctrine has become incredibly nuanced and complex over time. In two concurrently issued decisions, the court has discovered new prerequisites to the initial application of the doctrine, changed the independent “public interest” review standard into a presumption, and has jettisoned that presumption entirely when contract prices are too high as opposed to too low.
News Digest was compiled by Carl J. Levesque, editorial assistant, Lori A. Burkhart, contributing legal editor, and Bruce W. Radford, editor. For continual news updates, see www.pur.com.Nuclear Power
Transmission & ISOs
Transco Independence. Granting Entergy's request for a declaratory order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in a case of first impression that a stand-alone transmission company ("transco") would meet the test in Order 888 for independent system operators despite passive ownership by a power producer or other market participant.
Two power pools (em one existing, the other inchoate (em have announced that they will file tariffs to price electric transmission as the difference in spot prices in the generation and consuming markets.
With no need for new capital, utilities have lost political pressure, exposing the regulatory compact as an illusion.Recovery of stranded investment today marks the central issue in the debate over electric utility competition. Unfortunately, the utility argument in favor of recovery is flawed.
Public Utilities Reports 11410 Isaac Newton Sq., Suite 220, Reston, VA 20190 Voice: (703) 847-7720 | Toll Free: (800) 368-5001 FAX: (703) 847-0683
Dear Reader: Welcome to our new website! We’ve spent the past several months rebuilding Fortnightly.com from the ground up, and we’re now in the process of putting it through its paces. We’ll announce our Grand Opening shortly, but in the meantime we hope you’ll excuse our mess, while we bring Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine to an all-new online platform. Your feedback is welcome!