Calendar of Events

Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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Benchmarks

Christopher D. Seiple and Todd Myers

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY HAS PROPOSED wide-ranging regulations that will increase the cost of electricity production, particularly at the nation's lowest-cost, coal-fired generators.

Despite a doubling of electricity generation since 1970, atmospheric concentrations of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide have declined. Title IV acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 will result in even greater reductions over the next few years. EPA has nevertheless charted a course to reduce utility emissions of these pollutants even further.

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.

The Electric Competition Debate in...Texas

Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

PAT WOOD III LIKENS HIS JOB TO CLEARING THE UNDER-brush "so the general can march through."

The "general" is the Texas Legislature; Wood is chairman of the state Public Utility Commission; the battle is electric utility restructuring.

To an outsider, it looks like Wood's commission is way out in front of the state's elected officials. Legislators are adjourned this year but the seven-member Senate Interim Committee on Electric Utility Restructuring is doing its best to sort through hearings on market power, transmission and distribution, reliability and other issues.

Ready for CO2 Allowances? U.S. Passes on Emissions Cap, Kyoto or No

Elizabeth Striano

FOILING EXPECTATIONS OF BOTH SUPPORTERS AND detractors, the Clinton Administration's proposed electric restructuring legislation offered no new policy on carbon-dioxide emissions, such as a cap-and-trade program similar to that already in place for sulfur dioxide.

But don't breath a sigh of relief. The debate has only begun.

Many observers see the Administration's tactics on CO2 as an obvious attempt to sidestep a highly sensitive political issue. They appear to agree that at some point the Administration must confront CO2 emissions.

The Cost of Reducing SO2 (It?s Higher Than You Think)

Anne E. Smith, Jeremy Platt, and A. Denny Ellerman

LAST YEAR, IN JUSTIFYING THE PROPOSED NEW NATIONAL AMBIENT Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter and ozone, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol Browner testified that: "During the 1990 debates on the Clean Air Act's acid rain program, industry initially projected the costs of an emission allowance¼ to be approximately $1,500¼ Today those allowances are selling for less than $100." %n1%n

Later in 1997, at the White House briefing announcing President Clinton's Global Climate Change Plan, Katie McGinty, chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Quality, sa

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.

Bootstrapping in 5 Steps FERC Trumps NERC Without Any Jurisdiction

Bruce W. Radford

1. IT'S NOT THE TAG, IT'S THE TRANSMISSION. "Coalition and its supporters are not so much challenging the information required by NERC's tagging plan, per se, as they are challenging what public utilities do with the information." FERC Order, slip opinion, p. 7.

2. AFTER ALL, WE LOVE TAGGING.

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.

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.

Perspective

George C. Loehr

AMERICANS ARE fascinated with lists. There are lists of just about anything you can name, from the Fortune 500 to baseball batting averages. There's even a book of lists. We especially like to rank "top tens," like the 10 best cities to live in or the 10 worst school districts in America. Television has popularized these lists.

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