Fukushima shockwaves hit America’s nuclear renaissance.
In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, questions are arising about the safety and survivability of reactors located in geologically active areas. Major changes might be required, and as a result the U.S. nuclear industry might face an existential challenge on the order of the Three Mile Island accident.
Massachusetts: Moving to Market Prices
A look at the various approaches regulators have taken to pricing energy in competitive markets, and how some are rethinking those plans.
Sending Price Signals, Without Illegal Tying
For deregulation to work, consumers must see the real price-- including all utility costs.
Case 99-M-0631, March 22, 2000 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
Bruce W. Radford
Northeast states avoid meter squabbles, stress electronic commerce.
It ain't the chip, it's the interface. That's the ticket in New England and the Northeast, where utilities, power producers, retailers and marketers are standardizing electronic data transfers of customer lists, enrollment choices, energy consumption and billing determinants - the business information that will be prove essential to a working competitive market in electricity.
Blair G. Sweezey, Ashley H. Houston and Kevin L. Porter
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADES, A GROWING NUMBER of consumers are able to choose who supplies their electric power and, perhaps more importantly, where that power comes from. Evidence is mounting that this ability to exercise choice may give a long-needed shot in the arm to the deployment of renewable energy technologies.
National polls consistently reveal that between 40 and 70 percent of those sampled say they would pay a premium for environmental protection or for renewable energy, and utility company surveys reinforce those findings.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
TELEPHONE BILLING PRACTICES. Citing the filed-rate doctrine, which bars deviation from published tariffs, a federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of two class action suits against AT&T Corp. that sought damages for alleged fraud. The suite arose from AT&T's failure to disclose to its residential long-distance telecommunications customers its practice of rounding charges up to the higher full minute.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.
IF COMPETITIVE ELECTRIC MARKETS PROMISE LEAN MARGINS and slim savings on commodity sales, then perhaps transmission and distribution companies could play a larger role in selling end-user services.
Yet low-risk T&D companies, building on their reputations as reliable providers, may need to grow to acquire the "critical mass" needed to make money selling services over delivery systems.
One of the few, if not only, businesses publicly betting on this strategy is the $4.1-billion GPU Inc. of Morristown, N.J. - and GPU means business.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.
PAT WOOD III LIKENS HIS JOB TO CLEARING THE UNDER-brush "so the general can march through."
The "general" is the Texas Legislature; Wood is chairman of the state Public Utility Commission; the battle is electric utility restructuring.
To an outsider, it looks like Wood's commission is way out in front of the state's elected officials. Legislators are adjourned this year but the seven-member Senate Interim Committee on Electric Utility Restructuring is doing its best to sort through hearings on market power, transmission and distribution, reliability and other issues.