APPA Director Alan Richardson will fight
toe-to-toe with well-heeled
adversaries. If he were a boxer, his name might be Alan "The Right" Richardson.
The executive director of the American Public Power Association (APPA) always toes the canvas, swinging for equity for his 1,750 members, shadowing its "heavyweight" adversaries, investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs).
When the IOUs align on one issue (em on mergers or competitive advantages, say (em APPA is there to counter, without fail. It has the reports, the filings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the press releases to build its case. APPA has to be among the most aggressive industry groups trying to ensure its place in the restructured electric market. It knows, too, when to step aside and let the IOUs duke it out among themselves.
To some extent, publicly owned power systems might be considered "lightweights." In terms of electric revenue sales to ultimate customers, publicly owned systems make up only 12.7 percent of the market; their installed capacity is 11.7 percent (according to Energy Information Administration Forms EIA-860 and EIA-861). Moreover, just 30 percent of public power systems own generating facilities. About 600 of the 2,000 public-power systems buy electric from the federal Power Marketing Administrations.
Meeting Richardson, you learn why his association does so well in or out of the ring. Sit next to him at an a industry banquet, and you'd describe him as "a nice guy." But hammer him in his sunny corner office with a pointed question (he doesn't like corners), and he'll brush down his reading glasses.