Lori A. Burkhart
Hydroelectric power generation by U.S. electric utilities increased 12 percent between 1995 and 1996, according to the latest publication by the DOE's Energy Information Administration. Hydro generation contrasted with output at gas-fired units. That dropped 15 percent to 263 billion kilowatt-hours (em the lowest level since 1993 (em partly due to a substantial increase in gas prices.
According to Electric Power Annual 1996 Volume 1, the average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities on a dollars-per-million-Btu basis was $2.64 in 1996, the highest since 1985.
Robert G. Rosenberg
G+T+D=? Why the sum of the future parts is greater than the present whole.
GENCO, TRANSCO, DISCO. IF THAT IS the future, then rates collected formerly by the integrated electric company (em with its generation, transmission and distribution functions (em will have to be determined again for each segment. One aspect of these rates (em the cost of capital (em has generated significant controversy.
Lori A. Burkhart
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final policy statement on its intended approach to nuclear plant licensees as the electric industry moves toward greater competition.
While the NRC has concluded that its regulations can address future changes, it is considering revising its financial and assurance requirements for decommissioning funds.
The board of the California ISO selected Jeffrey D. Tranen as its first CEO. Tranen is former president of the New England Power Co., senior v.p. of the New England Electric System and chair of NEPOOL. The ISO starts operation Jan. 1, 1998.
Charles F. Gay, Ph.D., former director of the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, was hired as president and CEO of ASE Americas Inc. Klaus Albrecht, former president and CEO, will serve on ASE's board and as senior v.p.-business development.
Aquila Energy, a subsidiary of UtiliCorp United, has hired David H. Stevenson former marketing v.p. of Duke/Louis Dreyfus, as v.p. power marketing for its mid-continent and western regions.
Charles Falcone, who retired as American Electric Power's system power markets senior v.p., was named project managing director of the New York State Power Pool's Independent System Operator. Falcone served as an official with the U.S. Department of Energy for several years before joining AEP.
Ohio Electric Utility Institute has elected William J. Grealis as board chair and president.
David E. Wojick
Competition abounds at wholesale, but retail is another story.
Will geography, politics and regional economics stand in the way of real choice for electric consumers at the retail level? Consider this tale of two power players.
One competitor, the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, is proud of itself. In its annual report, IMPA says that open access and competition in the wholesale market allowed it to trim wholesale rates for power it delivered to member distribution companies in 1996. "The results were remarkable," the report reads.
Lori A. Burkhart
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has identified 13 nuclear plants that warrant increased NRC regulatory attention. These plants will remain on the NRC "watch list."
No additional nuclear plants were added to the NRC watch list. But one plant - Indian Point 3, operated by the New York Power Authority - was removed from the list. Indian Point 3 had been placed on the list in June 1993, and now has been removed due to improved performance.
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.
Today's critics decry stranded costs, yet fail to cover their tracks.
Many of today's most vociferous critics of stranded cost recovery were once among the most ardent supporters of the nuclear plants they now disavow.
Back in the '70s, when electric utilities and regulators laid out their long-term plans, nuclear power played a leading role, and American industry largely concurred. Now, however, 20 years later, the business sector sings a new tune. "I told you so," the refrain goes.
Lori A. Burkhart, and Phillip S. Cross
Putting aside calls for a faster-paced switch to the new industry format, the Michigan Public Service Commission has adopted a phase-in schedule for customer direct access to alternative electricity suppliers that runs through 2002. The order, which some have said needs additional work, also outlines stranded cost recovery policies and related securitization strategies.
Under the plan, 2.5 percent of each electric utility's retail load will become eligible for customer choice each year from 1997 through 2001, with all customers eligible in 2002.