Fortnightly Magazine - October 2010

One if by Wholesale, Two if by Retail

Which path leads to the smart grid?

A fierce debate has erupted in the utility policy community, with battle lines drawn within FERC itself. In the effort to improve system efficiency, two competing alternatives stand out: to build the smart grid on large-scale demand response (DR) programs, or to build it around consumer behavior in retail markets.

Back to Business

Utility deals resume after 18 months of austerity.

Utilities are taking advantage of a sweet spot in the capital markets, pre-funding and refinancing at record low rates. But cheap money won’t resolve overhanging uncertainties preventing cap-ex projects and M&A deals. Greater certainty in America’s economic and policy outlook will clear a path for strategic change.

Energy Trading Under Dodd-Frank

Wall Street reform hits the utility business.

Utilities, long accustomed to regulation by FERC and state PUCs, now face extensive regulation of their energy trading activities by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Under the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—commonly known as Dodd-Frank—signed into law July 21, 2010, energy swap contracts may be subject to new capital, margin, reporting, business conduct, and other requirements that likely will increase their trading costs and create new compliance concerns.

Utility-Customer Partnerships

Engaging the consumer takes on new meaning.

Customer backlash over dynamic pricing and the smart-grid caught the industry unprepared. CIOs and top customer specialists share their strategies for engagement and attaining consumer satisfaction.

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