Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Public Utilities Reports

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Reliability

Generating Plant Sales and Acquisitions: Who's Doing What, and Why

Dean Maschoff, James Pardikes, David Thompson, Michael Rutkowski, and Nainish Gupta

Sales prices for power generation assets in the United States during the past two years have climbed to unprecedented levels. This trend should continue. More than 20,000 megawatts of generation assets have been sold, with another 20,000 MW announced. During the next five years, it is expected that 70,000 to 140,000 MW will change hands. We have seen only the beginning of a massive redistribution of generation assets - from regulated utilities to unregulated marketers and plant operators.

In fact, the prices we've seen for generation assets may turn out to be bargains.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

State PUCs

Distributed Generation. California opened a rulemaking proceeding to consider regulatory reforms in electricity distribution service, with a possible focus on distributed generation. The commission emphasized that its intent was not to define new policies, but to gather information. Comments are due March 17, and the commission intends to consider a proposal from the assigned commissioner this summer. Rulemaking 98-12-015, Dec. 17, 1998 (Calif. P.U.C.).

Gas Transportation Rates.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Some see utilities fixing prices under competition. Really? I'm shocked.

Did you hear the one about the 10,000 percent rate increase? Ask FERC chairman James Hoecker or his colleague, Curt Hébert. They'd be happy to tell you. They don't even need their own joke writers. This story, you see, is absolutely true.

It seems that Virginia Electric & Power Co. wanted to squeeze just a little more profit from its Kerr-Henderson transmission line.

Price Spike Redux: A Market Emerged, Remarkably Rational

Robert J. Michaels and Jerry Ellig

The post-mortems on last summer's price spikes in the Midwest are in. At least three studies of the event diverge in their conclusions:

First, on Sept. 24 of last year, the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found the root cause of the spikes in extreme weather and unexpected outages. It observed no direct evidence of market manipulation and concluded that the events were unlikely to recur.

MAPP, MISO & PJM: Three Regions Fight Over Wires, Prices and Profits

Bruce W. Radford

Tales of bad faith, cold feet and price manipulation.

Lollipops"/fn1/ and "loopholes." "Islands" and "peninsulas." Utilities have invented a colorful new lexicon to explain what's happening at power pools and regional transmission groups. Yet the basic issue remains familiar: How to gain a competitive advantage.

Score a Deal? 20-Odd Mergers in Search of a Policy

Bruce W. Radford

As utility takeovers break new ground, the FERC ponders proposed rules, perhaps already out of date.

A year ago, when U.S. Antitrust Czar Joel Klein talked of a "window of opportunity" for electric utility mergers, he didn't predict when it would close.

And it hasn't yet.

In the 12 months leading up to January 1998, when Klein had addressed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through its "Distinguished Speakers" series, only the ill-timed Primergy deal had been turned down. The next year, 1998, would prove no different.

Special Report

Courtney Barry

September meeting sends draft legislation back to the drawing board.

Reliability is a self-correcting issue (em if we let it slide, something will happen and it will be corrected ¼ [But] do you want the government to do it?"

That was one industry representative speaking of attempts by the North American Electric Reliability Council (known as NERC) to evolve into a self-regulating reliability organization, or SRRO.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

State PUCs

Electric Retail Choice. The Arkansas Public Service Commission has issued its final report on electric restructuring, citing a "broad" consensus favoring competition. It predicts immediate benefits for industrial customers, but warns that residential users likely will not see any quick rate cut. The PSC saw competition as consistent with action in neighboring states:

• Oklahoma. State law mandates retail choice by July 1, 2002.

• Mississippi. PSC plan would phase-in competition from 2001 to 2004.

• Missouri.

News Analysis

Bruce W. Radford

We are the world's experts on contingencies," boasted Michehl Ghent, president of the North American Electric Reliability Council, appearing in Houston on Sept. 17 at the Sixth Annual DOE/NARUC Electricity Forum. It was the very day day that NERC released its first comprehensive report on readiness in the electric utility industry in correcting computer software problems associated with the dawning the next century, which for the first time will require computers, software programs and embedded chips to the use four digits to identify the year beginning with turnover from 1999 to 2000.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Federal Agencies

NOX EMISSIONS. Generating heavy criticism from industry, on September 24 the Environmental Protection Agency released its long-awaited final rules on nitrogen oxide emissions, outlining a plan to reduce NOx by 28 percent by year 2007 in some 22 states and the District of Columbia, with state implementation plans due by September 1999 and controls in place by 2003, to be carried out through a "cap and trade" program to buy and sell NOx emissions credits.

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