Calendar of Events

Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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RTO

Absolute Power

Reviewing FERC's omnipotence over markets.

Richard Stavros

Reviewing FERC's omnipotence over markets: Market players like Calpine say standard market design (SMD) and RTO issues "while laudable and important objectives … will do little to enhance wholesale competition if contract sanctity is not assured."

Perspective

Advanced grid technologies are needed to realize FERC's standard market vision.
John B. Howe

It's the Grid, Stupid!

 

 

M&A for T&D

Grid system operators now hold the cards. That means a bidding war for talent and a new wave of mergers.
Larry Oliva

Grid system operators now hold the cards. That means a bidding war for talent and a new wave of mergers.

TBy issuing new rules for a Standard Market Design (SMD) for wholesale power, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in all likelihood will usher in a new wave of utility mergers. But the pattern will differ from what we have seen in recent years.

The deals will center on the transmission sector, and take a horizontal shape, rather than vertical.

Power Prices Today: Growing More Unpredictable

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.
John Herbert

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.

Jeff Skilling resigned from Enron over a year ago-after power prices in markets serving California had fallen 90 percent in three months.

But in July, Bank of America won approval from the Treasury Department to offer cash-settled electricity derivatives-with a former Enron regional director at the head of the desk.

So what has changed, and what hasn't?

Perspective

The ISO takes on critics of its new market design.
Terry Winter

 

Gen Interconnection: Comparability or Common Sense?

Why power plants should pay for grid upgrades.
Cliff Rochlin and Jeff Huang

 

Why power plants should pay for grid upgrades.

Do we make all generators equal-using affirmative action to give rights to merchants that are "comparable" to utility-owned plants?

Or, do we let the locational price signals shine through-trusting all plant developers, whether regulated or not, to act in self-interest?

Studying Apples and Oranges

RTO cost/benefit studies are difficult to reconcile.
John D. Clapp and Margaret McGrath

 

RTO cost/benefit studies are difficult to reconcile.

The premise behind the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) push for regional transmission organizations (RTOs)-that they will provide positive economic benefits to society- increasingly is being challenged.

Perspective

FERC's call for regional PUCs will force state regulators to declare their allegiance.
Branko Terzic

 

FERC's call for regional PUCs will force state regulators to declare their allegiance.

How will regulators re-engineer restructuring? That was the theme of the seventh annual convention of the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Commissioners (MARUC). But while the theme may have been the re-engineering of restructuring, other regulators felt more inclined to discuss the "re-regulating of restructuring."

The Empire Strikes Back

Will FERC's market solution wipe out state commissions?

Ken Carlson

One might say, when it comes to FERC, some state public utilities commissions' lack of faith is disturbing—to paraphrase Lord Vader. It's also necessary, as any journalist would tell you. The FERC NOPR on standard market design (SMD)—which completes the "trilogy" of regulation on wholesale markets, as chairman Pat Wood described it—had some state PUCs blasting the NOPR even before its July 31 release.

News Analysis

Pennsylvania loses faith in FERC, looks for help from the Justice department.
Philip S. Cross

Pennsylvania loses faith in FERC, looks for help from the Justice department.

"A well functioning market on an average day works better than we regulators can do on our best day." Perhaps this quote, attributed to Pat Wood, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), best captures the prevailing view among transmission officials in the Northeast. But the feeling out West is decidedly different. So is the mood among state utility regulators.

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