Fortnightly Magazine - July 2004

Northwest Passage: BPA's Changing Role

The treacherous journey toward a more efficient and transparent Northwest power market may be nearing its conclusion.

The treacherous journey toward a more efficient and transparent Northwest power market may be nearing its conclusion.

Steve Wright stands at the helm of an agency with a seemingly impossible task. As CEO and administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Wright must serve a broad spectrum of interests, from aluminum smelters to sockeye salmon. And no matter what he or anyone does, it's impossible to make them all happy at the same time.

Of Blackouts and Lawsuits

Class-action claims for widespread utility service interruptions are a growing trend.

Class-action claims for widespread utility service interruptions are a growing trend.

During the dog days of summer, a severe heat wave settles over the service territory of an electric utility. Electricity demand reaches an all-time peak as customers turn their air conditioners to the highest setting. Service interruptions occur throughout the utility's territory as high loads and low voltages cause breakers to trip, fuses to operate, transformers to overheat, and equipment to fail.

Acceding to Succeed

How joining the EU may transform the Central and Eastern European electricity sectors

How joining the EU may transform the Central and Eastern European electricity sectors

It is not coincidental that energy assets are for sale across Central and Eastern Europe the same year that 10 new countries join the European Union (EU). New member states had to demonstrate significant sector reforms to qualify for EU membership. These sectors have historically had miserable economic results due to artificially maintained low prices, poor and often corrupt management, and significant political interference.

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