Calendar of Events

Nov 24, 2014 | Washington, DC
Dec 08, 2014 to Dec 09, 2014 | Washington, DC
Jan 14, 2015 to Jan 16, 2015 | San Diego, CA

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Public Utilities Reports

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RTO

Bad Day at Black Oak

Beware even the best of attempts at apportioning grid rights and costs.

Bruce W. Radford

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?

Merchant Transmission Redux

Financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not induced needed construction. Presenting an alternative model.

J. Jolly Hayden and Robert J. Michaels

By almost any measure, the nation is running short of transmission, and the existing volume of investment cannot long continue to reliably accommodate retail-load growth and larger wholesale volumes. Factors like environmental opposition also have caused declines and delays in transmission investment, but it seems clear that financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not sufficed to induce the necessary construction. The authors propose a new model to reward investors who lower congestion costs.

The Geopolitics of the Grid

Is it really so important to preserve regional differences?

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

The July 11, 2006, edition of the Wall Street Journal contained an excellent opinion piece which posed the question: “What does ‘energy security’ really mean?” What is so striking about his article is that his analysis easily could describe power industry politics between low-cost states (suppliers) and high-cost states (consumers).

The Top 10 Utility Tech Challenges

Innovation must play a key role in each company.

Clark W. Gellings and Steve Hoffman

An EPRI vice president cites areas of concern in each part of the electricity value chain. How can IOUs overcome the formidable difficulties ahead of them?

A New England Capacity Market That Works

Two authors beg to differ with Goldman Sachs’ Larry Kellerman on what needs mending in the Northeast.

Randall Speck Esq. and Dr. Miles Bidwell

Although much work remains before all its benefits will be realized, the Forward Capacity Market satisfies the criteria for a capacity system that works, while avoiding the need for the centralized planning and control that Larry Kellerman appears to advocate in “Mending Our Broken Capacity Markets.”

Diamonds in the Rough

Retaining mid-career personnel will be important to a utility’s success.

Michael Brown and Sasha Lazor

With upward of 50 percent of the utility industry’s workforce approaching retirement, the industry’s leadership, at all levels, must come to grips with this enormous challenge. This looming demographic challenge is not simply a human-resources problem. For most of the industry, it poses a very real threat to the bottom line and touches upon the fundamental ability of the company to pursue its mission. The path to survival will require non-traditional thinking around all the people levers—staffing, work planning, compensation, work processes, performance management, development, job and organization design, and, most important, leadership.

Calling EPACT's Bluff

How Congress opened another can of worms with its call for regional joint boards to study power-plant dispatch.

Bruce W. Radford

Did Congress really invite the industry to re-examine the concept of economic dispatch, as practiced by the regional grid operators and RTOs, through market bids, day-ahead markets, a centralized auction, and a uniform market-clearing price? Perhaps not, but skeptics of RTO practice have called the bluff, if that’s what it was.

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: David L. Sokol

Chairman and CEO, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

Interview by Richard Stavros

“Leadership is the recognition that we are fiduciaries of the customer’s dollars and we have to be as efficient as we possibly can be because it is their money and not ours.”

Kicked Off and On Schedule

Cal-ISO files a new market design, but has it traded efficiency for software?

Bruce W. Radford

Eyeing a launch date of November 2007, Cal-ISO at last has come forward with plans for revamping its widely disparaged wholesale market design. The formal proposal, known as the MRTU (Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade), was filed this past February at FERC.

Pondering PJM's Energy Price Run-Up

Does inappropriate market power explain the increase during late 2005?

Howard M. Spinner

Beginning around June 2005, prices in the PJM day-ahead locational market pricing energy markets and real-time pricing markets rose precipitously. Based on publicly available information, our study concludes that these price increases are not fully explained by higher loads and higher commodity fuel prices. Could higher energy prices be the result of the inappropriate exercise of market power rather than the appropriate result of market dynamics operating in the presence of scarcity?

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