Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1998

How Commodity Markets Drive Gas Pipeline Values

Has rate regulation become obsolete for natural gas pipelines?

On Jan. 30, FERC will hold a public conference to review the financial health of the pipeline industry. It will ask whether its regulatory framework still works; whether pipelines can still attract new capital for investment. Does rate policy threaten the financial integrity of the pipeline industry? That very question may come before the Commission. Nevertheless, FERC need not look far for an answer. If the pipeline industry should lie at risk, the cause may go no farther than the Commission itself. In fact, FERC ratemaking policy for gas transportation service now appears to jeopardize the ability of pipelines to recover costs.

A Second Opinion on Network Architecture Why a "closed" system is actually "open"

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).

Reliability or Profit? Why Entergy Quit the Southwest Power Pool

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.

Selling Energy to the Federal Government

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.

Integrating Metering & Information Systems

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.

V