Tales of bad faith, cold feet and price manipulation.
Lollipops"/fn1/ and "loopholes." "Islands" and "peninsulas." Utilities have invented a colorful new lexicon to explain what's happening at power pools and regional transmission groups. Yet the basic issue remains familiar: How to gain a competitive advantage.
By early February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was to have held "one or more conferences" with state public utility commissioners to solicit views on how to divide the country into regional districts to develop independent regional organizations to manage electric transmission operations.fn2 The meetings would mark the first step on the way to a rulemaking case to consider the relative merits of "transcos," meaning private, for-profit companies owning and operating transmission lines, versus an independent system operator, or ISO, usually seen as a nonprofit organization managing lines owned by another company.
On Jan. 13 the FERC announced the first round of conferences: Feb. 11 (St. Louis); Feb12 (Las Vegas); Feb. 17 (Washington, D.C.). But the industry was already pressing the question.