Bruce W. Radford
The PJM Interconnection is what they call a "tight" power pool. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has explained, tight power pools "extensively coordinate" their planning and operations, with central dispatch of generating plants. This coordination builds reliability--one of the long-term benefits, says the FERC, of a tight power pool.
Coordination also builds market power, however. And, as we all know from FERC Order 888, market power in transmission stands as "the single greatest impediment" to electricity competition.
Minnesota has lots of drafts, but no final plan.
So you think your state has been busy? In Minnesota, the 1997 legislative session saw more than a dozen new bills introduced on electric, gas and energy issues.
At the start of the session many expected that electric deregulation would play a major part in the legislative program. However, Gov. Carlson reports now that legislators will defer work on the issue until the 1998 session. Several electric industry deregulation bills were introduced at the end of the session, but when last we checked no hearings had been held.
Lori A. Burkhart
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has granted two certificates for natural gas pipeline projects in the Southeastern U.S. One certificate went to Southern Natural Gas Co. for construction of a controversial pipeline to serve two municipal customers; a second was issued to Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. for the largest single expansion of its pipeline and storage system.
The FERC on May 28 voted 5-0 to grant a certificate to Southern Natural Gas Co. to construct approximately 118 miles of natural gas pipeline to serve two municipal customers.
ABB Systems Control sold an OASIS gateway system to Cinergy Corp. The system is configured to communicate with the ECAR OASIS node, handling TTC and ATC calculations, transmission service requests and other required transmission path information. Cinergy also bought an ABB enhanced interchange scheduling system, ISplus(.
Northern State Power Co.'s Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant in Minneapolis, Minn. was expected to start up in July or August after a May 9 shutdown to correct a design problem.
New England states, feeling threatened by increased pollution from Midwest coal-fired generation, recently began lobbying for tougher national environmental standards tied to electric deregulation legislation. The perceived threat is based on the belief that coal-fired plants in the Midwest with excess capacity will increase exports to higher-cost New England states. This increased generation and exportation could lead to more pollution in the New England states.
Sidney J. Baxendale, and Michael J. Spurlock
When viewed as serving market segments, utilities differ little from manufacturing companies, where most costs are shared among products and processes.
Activity-based cost management has had a tremendous impact on manufacturing enterprises; and its use has spread to some service industries such as banking, insurance and health care. ABCM encompasses two well-known management concepts: activity-based costing and activity-based management. Now that electric utilities are gearing up for competition, it is time to ask if ABCM has any relevance in the public utility industry.
Lori A. Burkhart
New York state's electric utilities in a joint filing at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have called for creation of an independent system operator, a power exchange and a reliability council, termed the "New York State Reliability Council."
The proposal stems from a collaborative process and is intended to complete the transition to full compliance with FERC Order 888. It includes numerous provisions:
• New York ISO. Would control state's bulk power transmission facilities;
• Transmission Pricing.
Bruce W. Radford
Speaking on June 11 in Washington, D.C., at a symposium sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rep. dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) was heard to say that he would have his electric restructuring bill out of committee by the end of July. He said his bill would mandate electric competition by 2000--just the sort of deadline that Texas Public Utility Commission Chair Robert Gee likes to call a "Hong Kong" clause.
Will the millennium bring the dawn of customer choice? Here we are, halfway through 1997. Hong Kong is now Chinese, but in America we are still ratepayers.
Bruce W. Radford
Dominion Resources touts its "impacted" method, but opponents call it a "stalking horse" (em a scheme to avoid full review at FERC.
Is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prepared to accept true marginal-cost pricing for electric transmission?
With all the criticism leveled at the traditional "contract path," one would think that the FERC would consider a new approach to transmission pricing.
In fact, last year in its final Order No.
Authors lost their case. The bright line is preserved.
Unfortunately, PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY did not caution its readers that a recent article ("Gas Pipelines and the Hinshaw Amendment: Conflicts Loom as the 'Bright Line' Fades Between Federal and State Jurisdiction," April 1, 1997, p. 36) is actually a thinly disguised brief for claims that a series of tribunals has rejected, including the U.S. Supreme Court. A warning from the editors would have saved valuable time for readers searching for more substantive coverage of the utility industry.