Calendar of Events

Nov 24, 2014 | Washington, DC
Dec 08, 2014 to Dec 09, 2014 | Washington, DC
Jan 14, 2015 to Jan 16, 2015 | San Diego, CA

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Off Peak

Everybody's got an opinion on electric competition, and they're dying to be asked.

Last year the Colorado Public Utilities Commission opened Docket No. 96Q-313E, In the Matter of the Inquiry Into Electric Utility Industry Restructuring. Then, after weighing several options, and rather than preempt the policy discussion, the PUC mailed a 26-page questionnaire to 360 people identified as "having an interest" in electric utility issues, including investor-owned electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and others.

What it learned could fill a book ....

Tennessee Reviews Gas Promotion Costs

Phillip S. Cross

While authorizing Nashville Gas Co. to increase rates by $4.417 million, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority has modified its existing policy on the treatment of advertising expenses in gas rate cases.

The authority abandoned a past policy limiting advertising recovery to 0.5 percent of the company's gross revenues. It also ordered a 50-50 sharing between ratepayers and shareholders. It granted, however, the LDC's request for full recovery of both payroll and nonpayroll "sales promotion" costs, rejecting allegations the costs should be treated as advertising expenses.

Dynamic Scheduling: The Forgotten Issue

Eric Hirst, and Brendan Kirby

But not for long (em as power producers and

customers get more creative in matching plants with loads Dynamic scheduling is a "sleeper" issue in the move toward electric competition. Industry players are debating independent system operators. They are focusing on issues of governance and the form of transmission pricing. Consequently, they are ignoring critical issues concerning ancillary services. These services are not receiving the attention they deserve.

Retail Gas Reform: Learning from the Georgia Model

George R. Hall, and Richard J. Pierce, Jr.

New legislation would tackle the most difficult problem (em low load factors for small-volume customers.

We commend the Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act, SB 215, passed by the Georgia General Assembly in March. (Governor Zell Miller was expected to sign the bill in April.) The Georgia legislation envisions a new framework for regulating the retail gas market.

Off Peak

A control area is like an airport (em too many planes, not enough runways.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AUGUST 21, 1996 - 8:35 A.M.

On Saturday, Aug. 10, 1996, a power outage left more than 4 million Californians without electricity, prompting the California Public Utilities Commission to conduct emergency hearings. Witnesses appeared from electric utilities and a host of federal and state agencies, including the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Western Systems Coordinating Council.

Off Peak

Simon Allen

Liberalisation of the electricity markets in the UK and Scandinavia has driven merger activity in these territories. This was evident in 1996 with U.S. companies taking over MEB, East Midlands Electricity and Northern Electric, with London Electricity likely to follow in early 1997.

Power Pool Politics: How New England Agreed to an ISO

Gordon L. Weil

With its membership opened, NEPOOL sets a transmission tariff, but still must develop competitive markets. In 1993, after a series of attempts going back as far as 1971, the New England Power Pool failed to reach agreement among its members for a regional transmission arrangement. But destiny then took over (em with help from the newly enacted Energy Policy Act (em to lead pool members back to the bargaining table. Finally, on Sept. 30, 1996, NEPOOL announced that its executive committee had agreed in principle on restructuring the pool.

Anti-Competitive Impacts of Secret Strategic Pricing in the Electricity Industry

William G. Shepherd

Flexible prices make markets hum,

but discounts discriminate when monopolies rule.

Many expect that the electricity industry is moving inexorably toward a much-publicized "new competitive era." Companies, regulatory officials and experts all regard the momentum as powerful.

So far, the changes are just beginning, and there is a long way to go to reach fully effective competition. %n1%n Yet even at this early stage, the merger and pricing strategies adopted by the established electric firms may be threatening the prospects for competition.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

On Monday, January 6, the Board of Trustees of the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) voted unanimously to require mandatory compliance from its regional and affiliate councils with all reliability "policies" adopted by NERC. Previously, the regional councils (MAPP, ERCOT, ECAR, etc.) were only required to give their "best efforts" to comply.

As the board explains, "Compliance with NERC rules needs to be insured, but peer pressure will not be sufficient."

This new vote stems from "A Call to Action," mailed out on October 28 by Richard J.

Is Competition Lacking in Electric Generation? (And Why It Should Not Matter)

Judah Rose, Shanthi Muthiah, and Maria Fusco

Incumbent monopolists won't command high premiums

if newcomers can rebuild capacity from scratch at a cheaper price.

At first glance, many of the nation's regional markets for wholesale electric generation appear monopolistic. In some of the 18 regional power markets we have identified, the leading companies account for 75 to 90 percent of the area's generating assets. In other markets, where the concentration problem does not yet seem as pressing, mergers and acquisitions threaten to raise levels of concentration of ownership in generation.

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