Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
TELCO UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. Reversing an appeals court, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission that had required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. It also affirmed a KCC ruling setting the initial amount of the fund in a roundabout way based on equalizing inter- and intrastate long-distance rates.
The KCC order (issued Dec. 27, 1996) had slashed intrastate toll rates by $111 million over three years. It then cut access charges by an equal amount to offset the loss to toll carriers.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr. Photography by Rick Reinhard
SCOTT SKLAR, WHO SHOWERS WITH SOLAR-HEATED water, who drinks his skim milk from his solar-powered refrigerator, who commutes via solar-powered car, who tells time by a solar-powered watch, who wears a sun-faced ring and sun-spotted tie, sweeps into a French restaurant on North Capitol Street in Washington, D.C.
Sklar, who has lived the Solar Energy Industries Association for more than a decade, is bald up top, but his hair sprouts out around that spot in grey-brown brillo. Glasses hug his eyes. His beard threatens to strangle him and his mustache pitches in.
James C. Cater
A simple formula method shows utilities exactly how much to discount prices. Electric utilities have drawn attention recently (and criticism from some quarters) for granting off-the-tariff discounts to customers deemed at risk for migration to lower-priced competitive alternatives. Typically, utilities have offered discounts to high-load customers in exchange for a long-term purchase commitment providing either more certain earnings, higher expected earnings, or both.
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.
The Texas PV Coalition has been formed to speed commercial availability of photovoltaic systems as a service alternative to extending utility lines. The coalition, which will be managed by Planergy, Inc., an independent energy service company, includes Rio Grande Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Wise Electric Cooperative, Inc.; Tri-County Electric Cooperative, Inc.; and Lubbock Power & Light. Funding to the tune
of $250,000 was provided by the Utility Photovoltaic Group (backed by the U.S. Department of Energy) and the Texas State Energy Conservation Office.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Shrinking budgets force staff cuts, but some projects
find friends in high places.
"They're putting the best face on the inevitable."
Funding for renewable energy for government/ industry research partnerships took another beating early this summer (em and that's on top of a $113-million cut suffered this fiscal year.
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.
Stan Hadley, Eric Hirst, and Lester Baxter
Giving up today's customer to retail wheeling could help cut losses tomorrow.
Estimates of stranded investment for U.S. investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) range from as little as $20 billion to as much as $500 billion (em more than double the shareholder equity in U.S. utilities.
Robert L. Hirsch
With little fanfare, most aspects of the U.S. energy system seem to have settled into a fairly stable, predictable pattern. To my mind, we have reached an "energy plateau" likely to persist for maybe a decade or more into the future.
Energy is not now high on the radar screen of the general public, so there is little public pressure for significant change in the U.S. energy system.
John Byrne, Young-Doo Wang, Ralph Nigro, and Steven E. Letendre
PV technology combined with storage offers a cost-effective alternative to capacity additions.By John Byrne,
Ralph Nigro, and
Steven E. Letendre
Until recently, both regulators and electric utilities have considered photovoltaic (PV) technology (i.e., solar cells) an unattractive
energy-supply option because of its relatively high cost. Now, however, a number of utilities have shown interest in using PV for peak-shaving.