Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2002

The Economists: On the Future of Energy Markets

Uncertainty clouds direction of FERC’s market engineering.

The failure of California markets, Enron, and the low-point of the merchant plant business cycle has left many executives pessimistic over the prospects that true competitive markets in energy will develop. Top economists discuss the industry’s outlook.

Crawling from the Wreckage

Can California’s energy market be salvaged?

The whole world watched the California energy market debacle. Now, economists talk about what it would take to rebuild California into a truly competitive power market.

The Doomsday Scenario

Debt + secret triggers = another Enron.

Much the same way that bankers used to worry about a “run on the bank,” where there is an overwhelming demand for liquidity that causes a solvent bank to fail, so should energy companies be worried that their use of material adverse change (MAC) clauses might trigger an overwhelming demand for liquidity that causes a once solvent energy company to fail. Of course, the banks now have the Fed to protect the financial system from a liquidity crisis. No such luck for the energy industry.

People (April 1, 2002)

Edward F. Godfrey has been named to the Unitil board of directors. CH Energy Group appointed Steven V. Lant COO. Susan Glasmann and Alan Allred were named senior vice presidents for Questar Regulated Services, a subsidiary of Questar Corp. And others ...

Bush's Cloudy Skies?

Experts debate whether Bush’s Clear Skies plan on power plant emissions clears the way for better emissions technologies.

The Bush administration has yet to deliver a detailed plan of its Clear Skies program-no legislation has been introduced. Even without many details, there's plenty to argue about. At the top of the list is whether a cap-and-trade program will truly reduce emissions more than the current command-and-control regime.

I Quit!

EPA director steps down, and tells you why.

I resign today from the Environmental Protection Agency after 12 years of service. I cannot leave without sharing my frustration about the fate of our enforcement actions against power companies that have violated the Clean Air Act.