THE LAST FEW TIMES I'VE HIT THE ROAD FOR A INDUSTRY conference or speaking engagement, someone invariably has come up to tell me how my picture on this page seems to be getting younger. OK, I confess. Like many other columnists, I've probably carried on too long with the same old photo.
But before we let go of that thought, wasn't it clever how, at the annual meeting of the MidAmerica Regulatory Conference in Kansas City, June 21-24, former NRECA attorney Susan Kelley found a way to connect male aging with electric utility stranded costs in her delightful talk, "Securitization and Viagra: What's the Link?"
Leave it to Kelly, the former senior regulatory counsel for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, who lately jumped to the private sector at the law firm of Miller, Balis and O'Neil, P.C., for the genius to recognize that we're all slowly losing interest in stranded costs. But she had the remedy:
"Securitization," Kelly explained, "like Viagra, can be a win-win prescription for some utility/ratepayer couples." But take care, she said, "Securitization, like the drug, should be used sparingly -- only for those patients who fit the profile."
Where were you on the night of Wednesday, June 24, at say, 8:45 p.m.?
According to Brant Eldridge, executive manager of the East Central Area Reliability Coordination Agreement, that was the moment when a tornado knocked out the three major 345-kilovolt electric transmission lines that serve the Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio (one line had 11 towers on the ground), throwing bulk power markets into chaos in the Midwest, with prices reaching for the sky.