Phillip S. Cross
WHETHER YOU CALL IT "DEREGULATION" OR "re-regulation," the promised move to competition does not mean less regulation - at least not any time soon.
William W. Hogan
AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND INNOVATION, CALIFORNIA is scheduled to launch its new electricity market (known as WEPEX) on Jan. 1, 1998, and we have a chance to revisit the issues. In the earlier round of this conversation, now three years past, I argued that the debate contrasting pool and bilateral models for a restructured electricity market was missing the point. %n1%n
I had thought the pool versus bilateral debate would be over by now; having both would have solved it.
James F. Wilson
BY THE START OF 1998, FOUR INDEPENDENT SYSTEM operators already were in operation and conditionally approved: ISO-NE, PJM and California by the FERC and Texas by the state PUC. Three more were either pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or expected to be filed in the coming months (New York, Midwest and IndeGO in the Northwest). Three additional efforts to develop ISO proposals were under way (DesertSTAR, MAPP and SPP). The Southeast is now the only large region of the contiguous United States without an ISO concept.
Phillip S. Cross
WITH DIRECT ACCESS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN ON Jan. 1, 1998, California regulators are moving quickly to set up their long-considered policies on electric restructuring. The restructuring actions touch nearly every aspect of electric regulation in the state from financing decisions and rate design to the sale of generating assets and monitoring new capital additions.
In addition, restructuring has affected ongoing regulatory activities such as the development of performance-based rate making plans and pricing and rate designs for large incumbent utilities.
Lori A. Burkhart
PITTSBURGH CHALLENGES MERGER; ALLEGES COLLUSION
The city of Pittsburgh has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Allegheny Power Systems Inc., and Duquesne Light Co., to stop the merger proposed by the two companies.
In its Sept. 29 court filing, Pittsburgh claimed the two utilities acted jointly to restrain trade. The city said the companies did this by agreeing to maintain higher rates for electric retail service at two industrial sites targeted for redevelopment zones pending their merger.
Eric Hirst, and Brendan Kirby
AS U.S. ELECTRICITY MARKETS BECOME increasingly competitive, large industrial customers will discover many new choices. These choices include the opportunity to modify the amount and timing of electricity use in response to prices that vary from hour to hour. In addition, customers can sell certain electricity services, including operating reserves and load following, to the system operator. And industrial customers with cogeneration facilities can participate fully in bulk power markets, buying and selling energy and ancillary services in response to changes in spot prices.
BY WHAT AUTHORITY CAN STATES FAVOR RENEWABLE
energy in a restructured electricity market?
Renewable resource funding marks a major point of contention in utility deregulation. Environmental groups fear that without some form of compulsion or subsidy, or both, renewable resources will not survive in an energy economy based on least direct consumer cost. However, utilities do not want to be saddled alone with the chore of carrying all renewables to market.
EPA Proposal Has IOUs Fuming
Electric utilities single-handedly to reduce smog.
MIDWEST AND OHIO VALLEY STATES ARE EXPECTED to get hit hardest by the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce smog.
Ohio, for example, is home to American Electric Power, one of the biggest contributors of NOx emissions at nearly a half million pounds per year (see chart).
The EPA proposed Oct. 10 that 22 states reduce nitrogen oxide (em a key element of smog (em citing electric utilities as the main source.
Phillip S. Cross
Expressing concern about price volatility in the natural gas market, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan regulators have directed local gas distribution companies to try fixed-price contracts and other hedging instruments. This would allay risk in wholesale gas supply portfolios and protect residential ratepayers from price swings common in the winter heating season, regulators said.
The growing popularity of fixed-price and other financial instruments to hedge against price spikes follows two winters of volatility noticed by regulators nationwide.
Phillip S. Cross
The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved a pilot program for Jersey Central Power and Light Co. that will allow some of the utility's electric customers to choose a private energy supplier and then compare bills with and without retail competition.
JCP&L, an electric utility doing business as GPU Energy, serves more than 11,900 mostly residential customers in Monroe, N.J., the targeted town.