The smart grid and the slippery business of setting industry standards.
Four years ago, Congress made its wishes known: it tabbed the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop a set of standards for the smart grid, and then instructed FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “adopt” those standards, but only after finding a ”sufficient consensus,” and only “as may be necessary” to assure “functionality and interoperability.” Yet what is known is not necessarily clear. Who decides if consensus prevails? What does “interoperability” mean? Should FERC’s “necessary” finding extend to retail smart grid applications, arguably outside its purview? And the biggest dispute — must standards be mandatory? — finds PJM at odds with much of the utility industry.
On the virtues and vices of ICAP, ACAP, FTRs, hubs, flowgates, DAMs, and gaming.
Bruce W. Radford
Special Report ... Special Report ... Special Report ... Special Report ... Special Report ... Special Report ... Special Report ...
FERC's new chairman runs roughshod over a reeling industry.
The defining moment came late in the morning, Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the last meeting of the year for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. That's when the TV cameraman spied former FERC chair Betsy Moler sitting in the audience, and trained his lens on her. As she looked up, she saw her image staring back from the flat-screen monitors scattered about the hearing room. But her shoulders were slumping. The cameraman could not know that the commissioners up at the head table had just stabbed her in the heart.
Bruce W. Radford
Speaking on June 11 in Washington, D.C., at a symposium sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rep. dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) was heard to say that he would have his electric restructuring bill out of committee by the end of July. He said his bill would mandate electric competition by 2000--just the sort of deadline that Texas Public Utility Commission Chair Robert Gee likes to call a "Hong Kong" clause.
Will the millennium bring the dawn of customer choice? Here we are, halfway through 1997. Hong Kong is now Chinese, but in America we are still ratepayers.