An Editorial Response:
Some critics wants PMAs out of the electric business. But that could leave market power to a few, large monopolies.
Department of Energy Secretary Federico Peña observed in an address at the recent annual meeting of the Edison Electric Institute: "The [electric utility] industry is incredibly diverse, with investor-owned utilities, municipalities, cooperatives, the federal power system, independent power producers, marketers and others.
Lori A. Burkhart
Nine members of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Power Pool filed a revised plan at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to establish an independent system operator for the Mid-Atlantic power market.
The utilities have been battling with lone dissenter PECO Energy over the details of the ISO.
The nine utilities, dubbed the "supporting companies," agree on the form that an ISO should take. In November 1996, the FERC had rejected ISO proposals by both parties as having failed to comply with Order 888.
MCN Investment Corp. and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. plan to build a $45-million liquified natural gas plant near the Delaware-Maryland border. The project, named Continental States Peaking Services L.L.C., would liquify, store and vaporize gas beginning in early 2000. It would connect to the Eastern Shore Natural Gas pipeline system, with access to the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and Columbia Gas Transmission system.
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.