Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1995

PoolCo, Bilateral Trading, and Technology

Alex Henney is associated with Energy Economic Engineering Ltd. in London, and has consulted in many countries. As early as February 1987, Henney advocated competitively restructuring the electricity supply industry and incorporating a pool as a real-time spot market. He is the author of A Study of the Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales.

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Last year, the Norwegian Market Co. decided to stick with bilateral trading and a spot market.

Centerior Plans to Fire Up Plants

Centerior Energy Co. (CE) has signed a power-marketing agreement with Citizens Lehman Power L.P. to make long-term power sales outside of CE's Northern Ohio service territories. CE will make available 550 megawatts of generating capacity from five presently idle fossil-fuel plants. This capacity will support the development of a number of "creative" wholesale power sales packages. The plants, owned by CE subsidiaries, are Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.'s Lake Shore Plant and Toledo Edison's Acme Station. (em LB

W. Lynn Garner is senior writer and Lori A.

D.C. Has Second Thoughts About Transition Costs

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) will permit Washington Gas Light Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to continue collecting Order 636 pipeline transition charges through its purchased-gas adjustment clause (PGA), but "questions" whether the costs should become a standard PGA element. The PSC set the matter aside for further review, voicing concern over the "potentially unchecked magnitude" of the costs absent regulatory oversight.

Industry Structures and Market Mechanisms

By Seabron AdamsonSeabron Adamson is senior consultant with London Economics Ltd., a consulting firm for the private sector. A native of Georgia, Mr. Adamson joined London Economics in 1992 and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

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The debate over "PoolCo" vs. bilateral contract markets is a question of market mechanism, or how transactions can be made while recognizing the realities of power systems.


Following Congressional approval of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), a key sponsor of the bill's electricity title, predicted that "competition should replace monopolism as the rule for much of the power industry. Consumers, renewable energy, and the environment will be much the better for it."

Since then, however, Markey's vision has fallen under a cloud.

CATV Exclusive Franchise Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that the Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1992 (Cable Act) does not invalidate existing exclusive franchises for local cable television service. The case involved a Tennessee municipality that sought to establish its own cable system, claiming that the Cable Act abrogated the exclusive franchise it had previously granted to a private company.

This New Congress Means Business

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as a minority party, House Republicans are ready to slash and burn what they see as a bloated federal bureaucracy. The next two years will demonstrate just how powerful the legislative branch can be when both House and Senate are controlled by a strong-willed party on a mission. Electric industry officials seem optimistic, but cautious, about this Republican revolution.

Marketing & Competing

Increasing competition in the electric power industry is likely to entail a little-recognized major complication (em greater difficulty in siting transmission lines. The stakes will often be greater, the opposition could be stronger, and both put a premium on finding a process that can win public acceptance cost-effectively.

Court Upholds NRC Dry Cask Storage Rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has upheld the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) decision approving the VSC-24 concrete cask for storing spent nuclear fuels. The generic approval of the technology permitted Consumers Power Co. to construct dry cask facilities at its Palisades nuclear project and begin loading spent fuel. The State of Michigan and owners of land near the Palisades plant claimed that the Atomic Energy Act required the NRC to hold hearings to consider site-specific issues.

Navigating the Hydro Market in Latin America

The governments of most Latin American countries have yet to establish clear policies about the future ownership of existing generation assets, but they do expect future capacity to be largely developed by the private sector. This has created friction in some countries between governments, which are eager to limit the role of the state in electric supply, and national utilities, which feel threatened and continue preparing traditional expansion plans.