Calendar of Events

Apr 28, 2014 | New York, NY
May 05, 2014 to May 08, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada

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Public Utilities Reports

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Reliability

News Digest

STATE PUCS

Distributed Generation. In December and January the Illinois commission took comments from utilities, marketers, manufacturers, and trade and advocacy groups on how to develop policy on distributed generation.

* Rulemaking Strategy. Enron has urged the state to proceed in a fashion similar to the California PUC's

two-track investigation. It asked for two separate rulemakings on (1) interconnection standards for DG installations of 50 megawatts or less, and (2) rate design and operational issues.

* Unit Size Limits.

Exposing Myths on what the FERC Really Wants

Curt L. Hébert Jr. and Joshua Z. Rokach

Read the RTO Rule. You'll see that it paves the way for transcos.

On Dec. 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hit the streets (both Wall and Main) with Order 2000, its rule on regional transmission organizations (RTOs). Ever since, utilities, investors and their advisers have been poring through the 727 pages of the document. They want to know, "What does the FERC really want?"

The question is not simply academic. On March 1 in Cincinnati, the FERC will open the first of five collaborative workshops to explore the RTO Rule and help the industry respond.

Firm Transportation Contracts: When They Expire - A Five-Step Primer for Pipeline Shippers

Bruce W. Radford

An interview with David A. Boger, Stephen D. Moritz and Joseph G. Baran of Strategic Energy Ltd.

The expiration and renegotiation of firm transportation contracts on the pipelines in North America is becoming increasingly complex. For example, TransCanada Pipeline ("TransCanada") in the past consistently renewed its expiring contracts for five- to 10-year periods at maximum rates. It also regularly expanded its capacity, requiring 10-year commitments two years in advance of availability.

News Analysis

Carl J. Levesque

Utility restructuring seems to prompt more lawsuits by customers.

In Chicago, Commonwealth Edison Co. settles a class action lawsuit for a heat-wave outage, paying $2.5 million for items including "food spoilage," to customers served by certain city substations. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spends $8.3 million to resolve 98 percent of some 6,600 outage-related claims.

Perspective

Craig A. Glazer

I know what you are thinking. We're in an age of deregulation, so the role of the state public utility commission is diminishing. You feel you can cut back on your regulatory affairs staff and concentrate on your business - on your marketing plan. Well, think again.

"Deregulation" doesn't quite describe what's happening today in energy and telecommunications. In reality, we are restructuring, not deregulating. And restructuring will raise a number of difficult issues that, like it or not, must survive review by your friendly state regulator.

Pricing the Grid: Comparing Transmission Rates of the U.S. ISOs

Laurence D. Kirsch

How does each region manage congestion, allocate losses and dispatch resources? Which players gain the most from each approach?

The United States now has six independent system operators, five approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and one approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. These ISOs present an astonishing array of similar and conflicting rules and philosophies by which transmission services are defined and priced.

This article aims to explain some of the key similarities and differences among the ISOs' transmission pricing schemes.

News Digest

Carl J. Levesque

Agency moves ahead despite ruling that Clean Air Act is unconstitutional.

By granting petitions filed by four Northeastern states seeking to reduce ozone pollution in their geographic areas through reductions in nitrogen oxide emission (NOx) from out-of-state sources, along with other initiatives, the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 17 began to clean the regulatory air that has grown murky as of late.

The Power Market: E-Commerce for All Electricity Products

Edward G. Cazalet, Ph.D., and Ralph D. Samuelson, Ph.D.

Why not use the Web to buy and sell transmission rights at prices derived from bids and offers?

You make an offer, I accept. You deliver a product, I deliver money. This simple construct works well in just about any industry you can name. When a willing buyer and seller negotiate a contract, each achieves an outcome he considers best. Moreover, each is obliged to meet the needs of the other - reliably. No central authority sets the price or allocates supply. We depend on markets for reliable production and delivery of other essential goods; why not for electricity?

News Digest

State PUCs

Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).

Electric Restructuring.

Ancillary Services: A Call for Fair Prices

Eric Hirst, and Brendan Kirby

A case study shows how today's typical tariffs can force some industrial electric customers to subsidize others.

There ought to be a better way for electric utilities to set prices for ancillary services - so that customers pay rates that fairly reflect the needs they impose on the bulk power system. However, while federal officials seem to agree with this point, so far they have done little to turn the idea to action.

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