FERC owns more than one enforcement tool. Besides civil penalties, it can require compliance plans or disgorgement of unjust profits, or condition, suspend, or revoke market-based rate authority, NGA certificate authority, or NGA blanket certificate authority. And lacking criminal penalty authority itself, FERC can refer matters to the U.S. Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. Moreover, while defining an organization as any entity other than a natural person, FERC nevertheless will continue to determine civil penalties for natural person violators, looking to the guidelines for guidance in setting such penalties.
Fortnightly Magazine - July 2010
How to avoid a Texas-style backlash.
Is customer engagement more about damage control, or helping customers understand their options?
Local communities welcome new reactor projects.
Visitors to Waynesboro in northeast Georgia might be surprised at local residents’ opinions about two new nuclear energy plants planned for that site; namely, they’re giving the reactors a warm welcome.
Smart meters open the door to advance billing.
Investor-owned utility executives have long understood the benefits of prepaid metering, but technical and regulatory roadblocks have prevented wide-scale implementation. Now, however, two IOUs—Arizona Public Service and DTE—are planning prepaid metering programs that could be offered to all customers. Smart metering technology might pave the way for prepaid to become a standard service.
California defends its cogen feed-in tariff—complete with its own virtual carbon tax.
California’s new feed-in tariff (FIT) is creating a burgeoning market for green energy investments, but the policy has sparked a fierce battle over state authority to dictate wholesale power transactions. A federal case will determine whether the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act pre-empts states from requiring purchases that exceed utilities’ avoided cost.
Bringing fairness to FERC enforcement.
FERC’s proposed penalty guidelines provide the opportunity for improved regulation. More practical and consistent characteristics for determining penalty fine ranges will increase penalty predictability for industry violations of federal regulations—and will make FERC’s enforcement more fair and transparent.
Manufacturers scale up for utility applications.
Photovoltaics technology is emerging as a generation alternative—both for centralized and distributed facilities. Solar industry executives say their companies are overcoming obstacles to large-scale implementation. With advances in design and manufacturing, the future looks bright for utility-scale solar power.
Why thinking small can yield big returns.
Nanomanufacturing technology works on the concept that materials reduced to the nano scale can show different and improved properties compared to those exhibited on a macroscale. For nanotech giant, Applied Materials, the ability to apply thin films at the atomic level is the answer to making solar energy more cost effective. Michael Splinter, chairman, CEO and president of Applied Materials, spoke with Fortnightly about nanotech developments for utility-scale solar.
Setting the stage for conservation.
America’s electric utilities understand their central role in taking efficiency and conservation to the next level. Accordingly, the industry has nearly doubled its spending on efficiency measures in the past few years. But encouraging customers to save energy won’t be enough to keep pace with the electricity demands of a growing digital economy. The country’s efficiency efforts will be most effective as part of a clean energy portfolio strategy.