Fortnightly Magazine - September 2004

Commission Watch

IOUs, RTOs duke it out over standardization.

Commission Watch

IOUs, RTOs duke it out over standardization.

Have regional transmission operators (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) asked for excessive levels of credit from customers, to the extent that the burdensome requirements foreclose full market participation by competitive entities? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) must face that difficult question as it investigates whether to institute a rulemaking on credit-related issues for service provided by ISOs, RTOs, and transmission providers.

Business & Money

After FERC's Market Power Ruling:

Business & Money

After FERC's Market Power Ruling:

Will financiers dominate the market?

The recent approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of its "interim" market power screen and policies on investor-owned utilities (IOU) affiliate transactions is changing the market dynamics for buying and selling generation assets. Yet, while the market test has drawn plenty of comments and complaints, the long-term effects are still uncertain.

Technology Corridor

Energy Storage Systems

Technology Corridor

Energy Storage Systems

How to reduce the cycling costs of conventional generation.

Energy Storage Systems (ESS) can provide significant benefits associated with reduced damage to fossil-fuel power plants if the ESS is used in such as way that it reduces start-ups or load-following/cycling. Though those benefits may not be well known, understood, or documented, they are real and ascertainable.

Gas Supply: Too little, Too late?

GAS SUPPLY

GAS SUPPLY

Pipeline and LNG terminal developments may arrive too late to prevent a natural gas disaster.

For exactly two months, MidAmerican Energy sponsored a $6.3 billion project to bring stranded natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to an adjoining pipeline in Canada. But when Alaska's Department of Revenue rejected MidAmerican's proposal for an exclusive partnership to develop the pipeline, the company pulled out.

A Gas Crisis, or Not?

The conclusions made by the NPC gas study raise more questions than they answer.

The conclusions made by the NPC gas study raise more questions than they answer.

In late September of 2003, the National Petroleum Council (NPC) issued a comprehensive study on the future of the U.S. natural gas industry.1

Special ECM Section

Deregulation, competition, and the back-to-basics utility strategy have created tremendous pressures for utilities to cut operating costs while improving customer service. In this environment, companies are being challenged to build the utility of the future-a lean provider of power generation, transmission, and distribution run tightly and efficiently, creating a low-cost, high-performance business.

Business Process Outsourcing: Myth or Reality?

ECM

ECM

Business Process Outsourcing

The utility HR department is the new battleground.

Today information technology (IT) outsourcing contracts are being signed on an almost weekly basis and are rapidly extending into business process outsourcing (BPO) deals covering a whole range of areas-customer care, human resources (HR), finance and accounting, and procurement, to name a few.

Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT: When will the Three Meet?

ECM

ECM

Outsourcing, Reliability, and IT

When the grid collapses or a hurricane wipes out power to millions of customers, how does a customer information system (CIS) information technology (IT) manager ensure his or her outsourcing partner works as an extension of the IT organization by providing system reliability? When customer privacy of a competitor is questioned, how can the company be certain that the team members of the outsourcing partner have had sufficient background security checks, and that company data is safe?

The Customer as Strategic Asset

ECM

ECM

Achieving financial returns from increasing customer satisfaction.

Every utility focuses on effectively managing infrastructure and capital assets. However, one important balance sheet asset may be overlooked and under-leveraged-the customer.

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