A COLORADO COOPERATIVE REMAINS SPLIT FROM THE NRECA and its general manager says a draft resolution against "federally mandated retail wheeling at this time" won't win it back. Stan R. Lewandowski Jr., Intermountain Rural Association's general manager, says the resolution, which will be considered at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association annual meeting in March, would still make the association sound wishy-washy (see Public Utilities Fortnightly, Nov. 1, 1997, p. 50).
Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1998
TWO WEB SITES ARE VYING FOR THE TITLE OF "FIRST Internet-based market for energy," one on the East Coast, the other out West. When last we checked, each traded only in natural gas, but each had plans in the works to expand to include electricity.
STILL TRADING BY PHONE. Southern California Gas Co. and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. went live on Nov. 19 with their on-line, shareholder-funded, "retail shopping center for natural gas," known as Energy Marketplace (www.energymarketplace.com).
NO ONE LIKES TO BE TOLD THAT HE OR SHE ISN'T CEN-
tral to the job at hand. But that was part of the message that Vinod Dar, managing director of Hagler Bailly's restructuring group, told a gathering of state public utility commissioners.
Take electric utility industry restructuring, for example. At the beginning of the game, Dar said, regulators are important because they create the intellectual structure. They are also important at the end game, to codify rules.
SINCE 1994, UTILITY ALLIANCES HAVE DOUBLED ANNUALLY: from 50 that year to more than 300 in 1997.
No longer is an alliance a two-company endeavor. Today's combos involve many partners and objectives, adding skills or products, spreading risk, increasing territory or creating common standards.
According to Andersen Consulting, multi-partner alliances account for an increasing percentage of all utility alliances, from 17 percent in 1994 to 50 percent in 1997.
Has rate regulation become obsolete for natural gas pipelines?
METERING issues can be confusing, especially as they relate to
new technologies and electric deregulation. However, only three guiding principles are needed to protect consumers and to ensure fair competition.
First, consumers need accuracy, safety and reliability. These are ensured through adherence to ANSI C12 standards.
Second, they need public, or "open," access to both meters and communications (with passwords to protect privacy).
ON OCT. 31, 1997, ENTERGY CORP. AND 16 OTHER MEMBERS
announced their intention to withdraw from the Southwest Power Pool regional reliability council and join the neighboring Southeastern Electric Reliability Council. The announcement shocked the SPP and its members, plus other industry observers and stakeholders.
While significant in number, the withdrawals do not necessarily signal widespread displeasure with SPP's initiatives and performance.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THE NATION'S SINGLE largest energy consumer. It buys billions of dollars of electricity and natural gas from utilities each year. Deregulation, and the competition it brings, will change how the government buys these services.
For utilities that signed contracts with the government in the past few years, the future may be here. Utilities must read their contracts carefully; they must know which rules apply to them, and try to comply. Noncompliance can lead to criminal and civil penalties for the utility and its employees.
YEAR 2000. MILLENNIUM. DEREGULATION. Each word strikes fear into the heart of meter manufacturers and utilities alike. Like the turning of the century, deregulation is coming for the electric utility industry, and sooner than we think. How will it affect the metering industry?
The first real indication can be found in California. There, by order of the state public utilities commission, the customer's energy supplier (the energy service provider or the utility distribution company) will, for the time being, own the meter.
MANY STATES ARE CONSIDERING THE IDEA OF opening billing and metering to competition at traditional distribution companies. %n1%n Electric utility executives can no longer assume that a regulated monopoly distribution company, or "disco," will retain control of both the "wires" function and billing and metering services. %n2%n
This new prospect raises questions: Should a disco seek to retain billing and metering as a regulated monopoly, complete with the obligation to serve all customers requesting electric connections?