Calendar of Events

Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014 | Clearwater Beach, FL
Nov 05, 2014 to Nov 06, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov 10, 2014 to Nov 12, 2014 | Toronto, Canada


Public Utilities Reports

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Electric Competition in New Zealand: Putting Last Things First

Chris Pleatsikas, and Bruce Turner

First it deregulated generation.

Then distribution (no more exclusive franchise).

Only now is New Zealand turning

to the wholesale market.

A decade ago New Zealand's economy was suffering from prolonged stagnation. The country relied too much on the public sector.


Batavia, IL, (pop. 20,300) is studying a municipal broadband communications system that would provide high-speed data services for city businesses, homes, schools, and other customers. The system envisioned by city fathers would use a fiber-optic network extension of the municipal utility. The system would provide cable TV and telephone services, and provide a conduit for interactive data such as the Internet.


Bruce W. Radford

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of one of those law firm newsletters, this one published quarterly by Reid & Priest, titled the Utility Telecommunications Advisor.

Retail Rate Subsidies - Recent Cases

Nearly every major rate case over the past several years focuses some attention on removing subsidies running between rate classes.


Robert L. Hirsch

With little fanfare, most aspects of the U.S. energy system seem to have settled into a fairly stable, predictable pattern. To my mind, we have reached an "energy plateau" likely to persist for maybe a decade or more into the future.

Energy is not now high on the radar screen of the general public, so there is little public pressure for significant change in the U.S. energy system.

Moody's Finds Northeastern Utilities Under Pressure

Lori A. Burkhart

A new report by Moody's Investors Service, Northeast Break-Even Analysis, finds that wide variations in the cost structures of investor-owned, municipal, and state electric utilities in the Northeastern United States will disadvantage the majority under deregulation in relation to their peers in contiguous regions. If full competition is introduced, Moody's concludes that the credit quality of Northeastern utilities with above-average costs would likely deteriorate because some investments are unrecoverable from ratepayers.

Innovative Rates: Four Customers, Four Solutions

C. Douglas Bowman

Flexible rate options can remain cost-based, even in a buyer's market, and yet

allow choice between price, reliability, and scheduling.

Customers with a choice are demanding, and getting, lower electric bills. These customers generally include municipals and large industrials. Municipals, as wholesalers, gained access to alternative suppliers via the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Maine Approves Electricity Price Hedging

Phillip S. Cross

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has authorized Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. to enter into oil price-swap and price-cap transactions. The utility said that the since the PUC had eliminated its fuel adjustment clause in an earlier proceeding, it had sought ways to reduce the risk associated with fuel price changes. The oil "price hedges," seek to set Bangor's future cost of oil by requiring the parties to pay a settlement amount if the actual price, as published by a well-recognized source, should vary from the price contained in the agreement.

Space Heating Discount Scrutinized

Phillip S. Cross

While approving a proposed rate discount program for new electric heating customers, the Maine Public Service Commission (PSC) has ruled that the program must meet "permanent load" requirements designed to protect ratepayers. Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. had filed proposals to market power to new electric heating customers at 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, as a temporary addition to its load requirements, with a price floor based on short-run marginal costs.

NHA Asks for Relicensing Reform

Lori A. Burkhart

The National Hydropower Association (NHA) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reform its regulations governing the relicensing of hydroelectric projects. No legislation would be involved.