Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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A Milestone Year: Power in the Commodity Markets

Edward Krapels and Vito Stagliano

Paper trading is here, introducing an element of speculation in wholesale electric markets.The electric power industry joined the commodity markets on March 29, 1996, when power futures began to trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). This first tentative step in the commoditization of electricity promises the emergence of a paper market for power, which, as in the case of other commodities, will likely prove substantially broader and more complex than electricity's physical market.

People

Carter T. Funk was promoted to v.p.-business and operations services at Consolidated Natural Gas Co. He moves up from v.p.-asset acquisition and resource development at CNG Energy Services.

Marian M. Davenport was promoted to v.p., general counsel, and secretary for Destec Energy, Inc. She replaces Stephen R. Wright, who retired.

Central and South West Corp. has elected Jim Ellis, chairman and CEO of SEEBOARD plc, to its board of directors.

Competitive Intelligence: An Antidote to Downsizing

Glenn E. Montgomery and James P. Spiers

Cutting employees

may be less than healthy, unless you're ready to replace them with technology.

As competition intensifies, increasing numbers of executives are realizing that customer service may have a more important role now than just placating regulators. After all, the broad spectrum of customer service is the principal way (em other than rates (em to differentiate a utility product and the utility itself.

Mailbag

In a recent article ("The Efficient Utility: Labor, Capital, and Profit," Sept. 1, 1995), Taylor and Thompson attempt to measure the

economic efficiencies of 19 investor-owned utilities.

The authors use a method of efficiency measurement proposed by M.J. Farrell in a pioneering paper published nearly 40 years ago.

Mailbag

Low Loads, Short Ride

Kevin O'Donnell's article "Aggregating Municipal Loads: The Future is Today" (Oct. 1, 1995) argues that residential and small commercial low-load-factor customers will do well in a competitive environment. Yes, I agree that the future for these customers is definitely today. Low-load customers will do much better in the short run. As long as excess capacity exists, sellers will price at little more than short-run marginal cost. Once excess capacity dries up, however, fixed costs will have to be paid.

Otter Tail Pursues WAPA

Lori A. Burkhart

Otter Tail Power Co. (OTP) president John MacFarlane is pursuing the utility's plan to manage the assets of a portion of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) for a five-year period, to smooth the way toward privatization of the nation's power marketing agencies (PMAs).

MacFarlane has written for support to the senators who represent OTP's utility's three-state service area: Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Larry Pressler (R-SD), Rod Grams (R-MN), and Paul Wellstone (D-MN).

Southwestern Merger: A New Breed

Lori A. Burkhart

Southwestern Public Service Co. (SPS) and Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSCC) have entered into a definitive merger agreement to form a public utility holding company that will cover one of the largest geographic areas in the nation. Size apart, the merger is unique in that SPS operates as part of ERCOT, and the two utilities are not interconnected. A new transmission line will be built to connect the two companies.

The new holding company will have combined annual revenues of $3 billion, and assets of $6 billion.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

A couple weeks ago, on a beautiful Sunday morning, I picked up my briefcase and wandered down to the Potomac river shoreline to catch up on my summer reading list. There, on the Virginia side, gazing across the river at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol dome, I gathered strength to tackle a foot-high mound of paper.

Otter Tail Pushes PMA Privatization Pilo

Lori A. Burkhart

Otter Tail Power Co. (OTP) has asked to manage the operations and marketing activities of the Billings Marketing Area of the Western Area Power Administration's (WAPA) Eastern Pick-Sloan system (a multistate region). According to OTP president John MacFarlane, the proposal aims to smooth the transition to privatization.

IPPs Bond Within ERCOT

Lori A. Burkhart

A new group, the Independent Power Suppliers of ERCOT (IPSE), has formed to speak for nonutility power suppliers that operate within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The stated mission of IPSE is "to promote the reliable operation of power systems within ERCOT, in which a competitive, environmentally responsible and profitable independent electric power industry can flourish." Membership is open to all nonutility generators (NUGs), cogenerators, and power marketers.

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