Calendar of Events

Jul 13, 2014 to Jul 16, 2014 | Dallas, TX
Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY

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Public Utilities Reports

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IOUs

S&P Revamps Public Power Rating Scale

Lori A. Burkhart

Standard & Poor's has revised its business profile scale for public power agencies to give investors more details to figure out each rated utility's ability to compete in a deregulated market.

It expanded its five-point scale to a 10-point scale, similar to the rating system used for investor-owned utilities. A "1" rating is the "most capable of competing," so that investors can better gauge a public power's ability to meet competitive challenges and market developments, such as separation of generation and transmission facilities.

Public Power: An Inexpensive Insurance Policy Against Consolidation

Alan Richardson

An Editorial Response:

Some critics wants PMAs out of the electric business. But that could leave market power to a few, large monopolies.

Department of Energy Secretary Federico Peña observed in an address at the recent annual meeting of the Edison Electric Institute: "The [electric utility] industry is incredibly diverse, with investor-owned utilities, municipalities, cooperatives, the federal power system, independent power producers, marketers and others.

Perspective

Albert J. Budney, Jr.

Canadian markets beckon U.S. utilities, and vice versa, demanding greater access to transmission lines to bridge the gap.

When I took the job of president of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp., way up North, near the Canadian border, I shared the news with a close friend. I told him how excited I was to be joining an innovative team that was out in front, breaking new ground in the competitive arenas rapidly evolving in the electric power industry.

Competition Stymied in Illinois, Oregon

Lori A. Burkhart

Bills that would have restructured electric markets in Illinois and Oregon have died due to lack of support.

A bill, H.B. 2821, which would have opened the Oregon electric market to competition by October 2001, has died in the Oregon House, lacking the 31 votes needed for passage. Meanwhile, the Illinois Senate has decided to postpone until the fall its deliberations on the state's proposed electric restructuring bill, which has the approval of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Industrial customers and consumer groups supported the Oregon bill.

Real Water Rates on the Rise

Janice A. Beecher, and Patrick C. Mann

While the prices play catch up, utilities and regulators should start looking for ways to mitigate costs.

Water utility rate increases have outpaced those of other utilities. In fact, water rate increases since 1984 %n1%n have surpassed the overall rate of inflation. Yet among utility services, water remains a real bargain; consumers spend less on water than on any other utility.

New York Asks FERC for ISO, PX, Council

Lori A. Burkhart

New York state's electric utilities in a joint filing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have called for creation of an independent system operator, a power exchange and a reliability council, termed the "New York State Reliability Council."

The proposal stems from a collaborative process and is intended to complete the transition to full compliance with FERC Order 888. It includes numerous provisions:

• New York ISO. Would control state's bulk power transmission facilities;

• Transmission Pricing.

Public Power in a Competitive Electricity Market

Richard Munson

Subsidies? Maybe. But how about reciprocity? Should Congress let PMAs, munis and co-ops decline open access?

Until recently, most congressional debate on utility deregulation has focused on the future of investor-owned utilities and independent power producers and marketers. Lobbyists for government-owned or cooperative-owned power companies have tried to downplay their clients or to seek exemptions.

ISO/PX Plan Goes to FERC; BPA Unhappy

Lori A. Burkhart

California's three largest investor-owned electric utilities have submitted their proposals to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for implementing an independent system operator and power exchange for the state's restructured electric industry (Docket Nos. EC96-19-001 and ER96-1663-001).

Last November, the FERC had conditionally approved an "acceptable framework" submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric Co., and Southern California Edison (the trustee for the ISO and PX is S.

Three "Workshops" Down, More "Work" to Do

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Electric's Players Tell Senate Panel Where to Jump In, Butt Out

With three hearings behind it, what has the Senate panel on electric restructuring learned from regulators, utility execs and other industry types who have testified?

Granted, some candor has emerged from all the maneuvering and positioning typical of electric industry and sector leaders, but is that enough for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to develop a position on federal legislation, without input from energy consumers and the voting public?

Sen. Frank H.

FERC Questions Market Power Studies, Will Explore Mitigation in California PX Docket

Lori A. Burkhart

Having decided that California's three major investor-owned utilities (IOUs) exert greater market power in generation and transmission than the IOUs had let on in detailed studies filed last summer, but finding no purpose in asking for a second round of hefty documents, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has decided to explore options for mitigating such market power before approving the proposal by the IOUs (Southern California Edison Co., Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and San Diego Gas and Electric Co.) to form a Power Exchange (PX) and Independent system Operator (ISO).

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