Fortnightly Magazine - June 15 2003

Commission Watch

PJM would dictate grid expansion, even if not needed for reliability, and then push the cost of the upgrades on those who use them the most.


PJM would dictate grid expansion, even if not needed for reliability, and then push the cost of the upgrades on those who use them the most.

Chairman Pat Wood and his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may well have given up on attempts to impose a standard market design (SMD) on the electric utility industry, but that doesn't mean the nation's grid system operators won't try the same thing.

Business & Money

Will dividends become the sole focus for investor valuations of utilities?


Will dividends become the sole focus for investor valuations of utilities?

With last month's favorable Senate vote to repeal the tax on dividends from 2004-2006 and reduce it 50 percent this year, and the high-profile conference committee meetings between the House and the Senate at press time, many are asking if investors are, or should be, beginning to evaluate utility companies solely on the basis of the dividend.

Technology Corridor

Tidal energy technology improves, but is it enough?


Tidal energy technology improves, but is it enough?

Could ocean energy be the next big thing in renewables?

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors in early May approved a pilot project, estimated at $2 million, to test technology that produces electricity from the tides in the San Francisco Bay.

The city hopes to produce 1 MW with the project and add it to the San Francisco grid by Jan. 1, 2006.

Off Peak

School plays teach efficiency, creativity, and self-confidence.

School plays teach efficiency, creativity, and self-confidence.

Bumbling Melvin Markham is a hero. He just doesn't know it. As the central character in an innovative school play, Melvin learns that everyone can save energy and the environment.

Emissions: Where Are the Traders?

Market fundamentals are driving NO<sub>X</sub> prices higher.


Market fundamentals are driving NOX prices higher.

Environmental compliance appears poised to become the biggest single driver of asset value for electric generators during the next five years.

While limits on sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions have been achieved with relatively minor impact through the tradeable allowance program, permit systems in the future will become increasingly stringent. The NOX State Implementation Plan (SIP) Call represents just the first instance of this.

Frontlines

NRG's bankruptcy is challenging creditors' resolve to back merchants until power prices rebound.

NRG's bankruptcy is challenging creditors' resolve to back merchants until power prices rebound.

A common complaint in the last few months by would-be buyers of merchant assets has been that all the choice power plants have been pledged as collateral to commercial banks in order to stave off bankruptcy. That's why not many transactions have taken place, merchant asset buyers say, as everything else in the market isn't worth the price being offered.

People

New Positions:

New Positions:

Allegheny Energy named David C. Benson its interim executive vice president, assuming the responsibilities of Allegheny Energy Supply President Michael P. Morrell, who will make use of the company's early retirement option program. Benson has been with Allegheny Energy for 25 years.

Cleco Corp. appointed Stephen M. Carter vice president of regulated generation. Carter earlier served as superintendent of Dolet Hills power station.