Bruce W. Radford
Shaky merger policy finds the FERC at war with itself.
"IN HIS DELIGHTFUL ARTICLE, "THE FOLKLORE OF Deregulation," published this summer in the Yale Journal on Regulation, federal judge Richard Cudahy notes the ethereal nature of "virtual electricity." This new product, he explains,"exists only as a blip on a computer screen and will never give one a shock." "Reality," he notes, has "retreated to the money part of the system."
We could use a dose of that reality in looking at electric utility mergers.
Bruce W. Radford
The FERC's latest idea throws pipelines for a loop, with implications for power markets, too.
Transmission and distribution (em the business they call "pipes and wires" (em can't last much longer with rates set by cost of service. Contrary to the myth, these services deserve no special status due to their high embedded costs. They carry no intrinsic value apart from the electrons and molecules they deliver.
James M. Costan
ONE OF THE thorniest issues that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has had to deal with in recent years is defining the scope of its jurisdiction over pipelines on the Outer Continental Shelf. Yet the solution is relatively simple and straightforward.
Fueled by the volatile combination of perceived statutory ambiguity and significant financial gains to pipeline owners, who can convince the Commission that their currently regulated facilities are in fact beyond its jurisdiction, the OCS controversy has raged for years.
Edward P. Kahn
The California Power Exchange doesn't solicit separate bids for plant start-up, spinning reserve or base load operation. That can make spark spreads a bit misleading
IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRICE THAT THE PROSPECT OF electric competition has created a huge demand for price forecasting services. To their credit, the forecasters have obliged, supplying an abundance of tools and techniques. Do the forecasts serve the needs of those who would use them?
Some might wish to use a price forecast to assign a value to assets.
Lori A. Burkhart
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION WANTS U.S. UTILITIES AND businesses to know investments are welcome and that processes soon will ensure the safety of American ventures there.
Nevertheless, it appears to favor traditional, American-style utility regulation, setting rates of return and limiting profits.
The Federal Energy Commission of the Russian Federation wants to create competition wherever possible, according to Andrey F. Zadernyuk, the first chairman of the year-old commission.
FERC Commissioner Vicky A. Bailey named Robert H. Solomon as her new attorney advisor for electric matters. Solomon has been with the Office of General Counsel since joining FERC in 1988. He has held key positions such as Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Electric Rates and Corporate Regulation.
AmeriGas Propane Inc. announced the election of Richard C. Gozon as director. Gozon will replace Robert C. Forney who recently retired. Gozon is executive vice president of Weyerhaeuser Co.
Bernard M. Fox
TODAY THE ELECTRIC UTILITY INDUSTRY HURTLES TOWARD massive restructuring. This fervor is not surprising as it appears society has become convinced that market forces can work better than a centrally planned, regulated environment. This conviction draws strength from deregulation in other industries, such as the airlines, natural gas production and telecommunications.
Jeremiah D. Lambert
IN A RECENT SPEECH TO A SOPHISTICATED WASHINGTON AUDIence of electric industry players, FERC Commissioner William Massey raised a difficult question: "Can ISOs become self-policing institutions, thereby allowing FERC to embrace light-handed regulation of transmission?"
In answering his own question, Massey confirmed a quasi-judicial role for independent system operators (em but only if they are "equipped with proper operational rules, including market monitoring plans that report market power abuses and contemplate enforcement mechanisms to assure compliance." %n1%n
Despite such op
Raymon E. Lark Jr.
Cynicism is nothing to scoff at. Cartoonist Scott Adams of Dilbert( fame has made a good living at it. But cynicism has an Achilles' heel. It reflects a certain lack of objectivity. It may deflect serious debate.
Consider the securitization of electric utility stranded costs. Last summer, after Ken Rose had thrown down the gauntlet against securitization, %n1%n I heard him speak at the 1997 NASUCA mid-year meeting and was struck that his message might make mischief in state regulatory and legislative arenas.
Bruce W. Radford and Lori M. Rodgers
RELENTLESS. That's the word consultant Benjamin Schlesinger uses to describe the growing share of North American markets claimed by natural gas produced in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region, the San Juan basin and western Canada.
"Western gas has climbed steadily, from 21 percent of North American gas production in 1975, to 33 percent in 1995," says Schlesinger, president of Benjamin Schlesinger & Associates Inc., Bethesda, Md. "It looks like that figure will reach 35 percent in the next few years.