Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1997

Real-Time Pricing: Chinks in the Armor

Regarding the Hanser, Wharton and Fox-Penner article on real-time pricing ("Real-Time Pricing (em Restructuring's Big Bang," PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, March 1, 1997, p. 22), the authors state that RTP programs will defer capacity needs and reduce peak loads. I doubt it. People don't mind paying high prices per kWh for a few hours each year. On the other hand, there is nothing like an old-fashion ratchet to get people to reduce their peak demand.

ISO/PX Plan Goes to FERC; BPA Unhappy

California's three largest investor-owned electric utilities have submitted their proposals to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for implementing an independent system operator and power exchange for the state's restructured electric industry (Docket Nos. EC96-19-001 and ER96-1663-001).

Last November, the FERC had conditionally approved an "acceptable framework" submitted by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric Co., and Southern California Edison (the trustee for the ISO and PX is S.


El Paso Energy Marketing hired Kathy Eisbrenner as senior v.p. Eisbrenner previously was with LG&E Natural Inc.

Cameron Raether, XENERGY senior consultant, was elected to the board of the Power Association of Northern California. Raether serves as chair on several boards and specializes in market evaluations for large electric and natural gas end users.

Robert G. Edwards was elected v.p. at Columbia Division of SCANA Energy Marketing Inc. Edwards joined SCANA in 1992 as a gas sales representative and has held various marketing positions.

FERC Oks GAPP Test Tracking Transmission Flows

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently gave final approval to a two-year experiment to track electricity as it travels over transmission lines (Docket No. ER97-697-000).

The experimental program, approved March 25, finalizes work proposed by a group of seven companies working independently on the General Agreement on Parallel Paths (GAPP). Other GAPP members had chosen to disband the formal GAPP committee in 1995.

The program calls for information on transmission paths to be made available electronically to all participants.


A new study takes a look at using the benefits of electric utility deregulation to increase trade and investment between the U.S. and Mexico. Published by the Salt River Project, or SRP, and the Comision Federal de Electricidad, the study aims to help companies understand the legal and regulatory regimes of the two countries and the potential opportunities to buy and sell power across the border via high-voltage interconnections. Others involved with the study included the

U.S. Agency for International Development, Price Waterhouse and Bechtel.

Restructuring Backlash Hammers States

Electric restructuring at the state and federal levels is moving forward fast (em too fast for some. Utilities, unions, consumers and even legislators are making their opposition known by filing lawsuits to block or slow down various restructuring initiatives, from New England to Dixie to the Desert Southwest.

Rolling Back Legislation

Pennsylvania and New Hampshire already have enacted legislation to guarantee customer choice in retail electric markets. Even so, some parties are asking for a rollback.

Texas Orders Rate Cuts; Legislation Unlikely to Pass

In the first order under a 1995 law designed to increase competition in the electric wholesale market, the Texas Public Utilities Commission ordered Central Power & Light Co. to cut rates.

Meanwhile, Moody's has predicted that legislation introduced in the Texas Senate and House giving choice to small ratepayers is unlikely to pass.

Rate Cut. On March 31, the PUC ordered a $32.3-million rate cut for Central Power & Light Co. retroactive to May 1996. An additional $16.4-million rate cut must be implemented annually in 1998 and 1999 (Docket No. 14965).

"Desert STAR" May Form Southwest ISO

Nine Southwestern electric utilities are investigating the feasibility of establishing a regional independent system operator.

The Desert Southeastern Transmission and Reliability Operator (Desert STAR) would be the name of the new ISO. Initial members would include: Arizona Electric Power Co-op; Arizona Public Service Co., El Paso Electric Co., Nevada Power Co., Public Service Co. of New Mexico, Salt River Project, Texas-New Mexico Power Co., Tucson Electric Power Co., and the Western Area Power Administration's Desert Southwest Region.