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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ISO

Perspective

Peter Fox-Penner

RECENT CONFERENCE on independent system operators held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was, in many respects, a tremendous achievement. It is a testimony to this Commission that its members can muster the stamina to listen to one-and-a-half days of mind-numbing technical discussion of power technology and regulation.

Nevertheless, there is inevitably a misstep or two in these massive "hearing-thons." In this case, the discussion nearly went awry when it turned to comparisons between transcos and ISOs.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Courts

ENERGY SUPPORT SERVICES. An Illinois appeals court affirmed a 1997 decision by the state commission that had denied authority to Commonwealth Edison to offer "energy support services," such as design, engineering, construction, analysis and management of electrical power equipment and energy systems. The court made this decision despite the utility's argument that no evidence existed to support the commission's finding that ComEd enjoyed a monopolist's advantage over competitors.

James Hoecker: Building Consensus, Preventing Paralysis

Lori M. Rodgers

PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY SPOKE WITH FEDERAL Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman James Hoecker shortly after the Clinton Administration released its long-awaited Comprehensive Electricity Competition Plan.

Although Hoecker sees new legislation as only "the remotest of possibilities" for this session of Congress, he expects that the "real debate" will begin next year, with environmental issues perhaps proving to be the most difficult to solve.

Are mergers bad for competition? "Not necessarily," he says.

News Analysis

Lori A. Burkhart

IF AN INDEPENDENT SYSTEM OPERATOR OVERSEES THE TRANS-

mission grid, how much independence is too much? Should ISOs cede control over dispatch to scheduling coordinators, or market functions to a power exchange? Addressing some of these questions, a new report released in April by The Progress & Freedom Foundation criticizes a restructured electric industry built on ISOs with restricted authority.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

TELCO UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. Reversing an appeals court, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission that had required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. It also affirmed a KCC ruling setting the initial amount of the fund in a roundabout way based on equalizing inter- and intrastate long-distance rates.

The KCC order (issued Dec. 27, 1996) had slashed intrastate toll rates by $111 million over three years. It then cut access charges by an equal amount to offset the loss to toll carriers.

The Electric Competition Debate in...Ohio

Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

WHAT IF YOUR STATE LEGISLATURE THREW A PARTY and you had to go? Best of all, this power party cost less than the one you went to (em and paid more to attend (em last year.

In simple terms, that's how some observe Ohio's latest proposal to convince the state's 11 million wary consumers to choose their electricity provider.

Two Republican state legislators have proposed the consumer-bent transitional system, called retail marketing areas or RMAs, as part of a broad electric restructuring program. The pair, Sen. Bruce E. Johnson and Rep. Priscilla D.

PSC - Restructuring Orders

Bruce W. Radford

PLANS OK'D for electric IOUs under New York's Competitive Opportunities docket.

CENTRAL HUDSON GAS & ELECTRIC CORP. RETAIL CHOICE: Offered to 8 percent of total load in 1998; additional 8 percent each year; choice for all by July 1, 2001. SAVINGS: $10.5 million to fund 5-percent rate cut for large industrials; all other rates frozen (since 1993) through June 30, 2001. Earmarks $24.5 million for incentives for residential, commercial and small industrial classes. Generation backout rate is highest among IOU restructuring plans.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis

Courts

NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

CALIFORNIA IS AT IT AGAIN. THE SUBJECT IS NATURAL GAS. What the "blue book" promised for electricity, the newly issued "green book" says it will do for gas.

On Jan. 21, the Division of Strategic Planning at the state public utilities commission issued a new 125-page study, Strategies for Natural Gas Reform: Exploring Options for Converging Energy Markets. On the same day, the PUC opened a new rulemaking (R. 98-01-011), asking for input on the DSP report and posing its own list of some 25 questions on where to go with gas.

Electric Reliability Sanctions or Commerce?

Bruce W. Radford

EARLIER IN THIS DECADE, FERC CHAIRMAN MARTIN ALLDAY delivered his famous quote: "Everybody is somebody's native load customer."

Today, that truism has fallen under attack. It could go out the window if power marketers get their wish. One group of marketers has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to open a new rulemaking on electric system reliability. This group proposes to end the notion of transmission responding to load.

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