Steven P. Schneider
THREE FACTORS (em RESTRUCTURING, TECHNOLOGY AND environmental controls (em now create both reason and opportunity for electric utilities to lower their property taxes, which often make up a substantial cost of doing business.
Property tax valuation is fairly straightforward. Most states compute property taxes on fair market value, or what a hypothetical buyer and seller would agree the property is worth, with both parties having knowledge of the relevant facts and neither compelled to buy or sell.
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.
Cliff Rochlin, and Roger Clayton
Divide the grid by usage (em local vs. regional. Apportion costs accordingly, to energy customers by fixed charge, and power producers by flow and distance.
Traditionally, utilities have received transmission costs through an average, rolled-in access fee, or postage-stamp approach. In a deregulated environment, that approach will lead to distorted pricing.
And not just because of transmission-line congestion.
Much of the current debate over electric transmission pricing has centered on the various competing methods of congestion pricing, such as zonal vs.
Michael C. Brower, and Brian Parsons
Some in Congress would link customer choice with a portfolio standard. How would that play in a wholesale power market where gas turbines rule the roost?
By Michael C. Brower and Brian Parsons
WHAT KINDS OF POWER PLANTS WILL
get built in a deregulated electric industry? If recent history offers any guide, utilities and independent power companies will succumb to the traditional wisdom and invest in gas-fired combustion turbines and combined-cycle plants. Sound reasons may exist for doing so. The plants are less expensive than conventional steam plants. They put less capital at risk.
Anna Godlewska, Antonio S. Mello, and John E. Parsons
What do the first months of trading say about the spread between spot markets and futures prices?
ust over nine months ago the New York Mercantile
Exchange opened trading in the first-ever electricity futures contracts. As occurred
previously in oil and gas, futures trading in electricity
promises to play a central role in
commodity markets (em markets that are gradually evolving as competitive.
Electricity futures also provide a valuable tool for managers at utilities or other power producers.
The spectre of retail competition in electricity presents some difficult but solvable technical problems in creating new markets. It could lead to a new world of regulation. At the least, it will expose some currently protected utilities to potential losses that could prove substantial.
This prospect of losses has inspired some high-cost utilities to mount a formidable defense of the status quo, coupled with an aggressive offense to shape the transition.
XENERGY, Inc., an energy services company, began supplying power to 13 companies in midsummer as part of Massachusetts Electric Co.'s restructuring plan. The companies belong to the Massachusetts High Technology Council. XENERGY will supply 40 Mw of power per year. Projected annual savings to the companies run about $2.2 million, or 14 percent, a drop of 2¢/Kwh. The wholesaler is NYSEG Bulk Power Sales Group; Mass. Electric will provide customer and distribution service. A residential pilot is scheduled to begin January 1.
Vera B. Claussen has been elected the first female president in the American Public Power Association's 56-year history. Claussen is commissioner of Public Utility District Number Two of Grant County in Euphrata, WA. Other new APPA officers include president-elect Thaine J. Michie, g.m., Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins, CO; and vice president Walter R. McGrath, g.m., Braintree, MA, Electric Light Department.
The United States Energy Association has three new officers: P.J.