We are better off under restructured electric markets.
Howard J. Axelrod, Ph.D., David W. DeRamus, Ph.D., and Collin Cain, M.Sc.
The most important action regulators can take to minimize consumer electricity costs is, and will continue to be, ensuring competitive wholesale markets, while demanding a rich mixture of products from the suppliers in these markets.
Policymakers are setting sights on new challenges facing utilities.
Utilities in the United States are heading into uncharted territories, and the regulatory landscape is changing accordingly. To learn what it takes to tame this new territory, we spoke with three FERC commissioners, a state regulator, and a Western governor.
Mixed signals leave developers wary of building new infrastructure.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher gives mixed signals that leave developers wary of committing to investments in new infrastructure, given his clear desire to affect positive change, while appearing to argue for policy decisions that are politically safe but arguably inconsistent.
Critics say its new budget and business plan could simply duplicate the work of RTOs.
FERC granted formal certification to NERC as the nation’s sole ERO and reliability czar, making it inevitable that NERC would delegate the job of regional enforcement to its various regional reliability councils, already constituted. To understand why FERC acted as it did, turn back the clock nearly a decade.
Market prices send investors clear signals to invest in the most efficient means for producing electricity.
Higher electricity prices have drawn sharp attention to the design of organized wholesale electricity markets—particularly to areas where residential customers’ rates will increase because multi-year rate freezes are ending. Some suggest changing the way that markets set wholesale electricity prices, or doing away with competitive markets entirely and returning to government regulation of prices. They say that the design of the markets exaggerates the effects of natural-gas price increases and unfairly rewards generators that use lower-cost fuels.
Exclusive interviews with the CEOs of five regional transmission systems.
Exclusive interviews with CEOs at five regional independent transmission system operators: Phil Harris, at PJM; Gordon van Welie, at ISO New England; Yakout Monsour, at the California ISO; Graham Edwards, at MISO; and Mark Lynch, at the New York ISO.
Beware even the best of attempts at apportioning grid rights and costs.
Several recent complaints involving PJM and now at FERC pose fundamental questions on how regulators and grid operators should attempt to price and allocate grid rights and costs. Is the transmission network a public asset, with costs that must be apportioned on principles of equity? Or, rather, is transmission an instrument of commerce, to be priced so as to maximize trade?
America’s energy competition laboratory prepares to build.
Hind Farag and Gary L. Hunt
The ERCOT region remains a living example of how to make a successful transition to restructured wholesale and retail markets for electricity. At the same time, the market continues to witness some significant developments. Sights are turning from recovery to the next stage of the power business cycle: The Buildup.
What federal regulators should do to ensure security, reliability, and cleaner air in our nation’s capital.
Sheila Hollis and Ilia Levitine
The District of Columbia Public Service Commission successfully has used two little known provisions in the Federal Power Act (FPA) to prevent an aging generating plant crucial to the national capital region’s reliability from being abruptly shut down by Virginia’s environmental regulators. In the end, the immediate threat to the region’s reliability was obviated while the environmental concerns associated with the plant were not ignored. The action resulted in a model for how federal energy regulators and environmental regulators can address similar problems in the future.
A rash of rate hikes around the country could have utilities facing a public-relations disaster.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
Constellation Energy CEO Mayo Shattuck has complained that he and the utility have unfairly been demonized in the public and in the press. In one interview with a Maryland paper, Shattuck showed distress over the verbal abuse his executives had received from angry ratepayers. And who can blame him?