Fortnightly Magazine - November 2016

Innovation and Capital Recovery

A History of Public Utility Regulation

The electric power industry is the key industry in our society. Nothing can function without adequate, reliable, fairly-priced produced and delivered electric service. Getting the capital recovery or depreciation right is not optional.

Is Customer Activism for Real?

New Business Model, A Balancing Act

The attention given to the new electricity customer seems to overlook the fact that electricity is basically a commodity. And that the average residential customer may in fact be satisfied with electric service and price.

Vegas Energy, Baby

Las Vegas, model of energy efficiency

Having worked in Nevada for many years, I can assure you that Las Vegas is nothing if not mythical. Let’s break down some of those myths as they pertain to energy usage.

Small Modular Reactors and Path Not Taken

Military Rivalry Fueled Nuclear Program

If we had to choose a new nuclear generating technology today, we would emphasize one that had no potential for catastrophic failure and minimized problems of long term waste storage. Perhaps we should revisit the path not taken: a thorium-fueled nuclear reactor design.

Hooking Up

New Entrants, Many Ways to Engage

The ability of new entrants to interconnect new generation on a timely and fair basis is essential during the transition from coal to natural gas and renewables. But how cooperative will incumbents be about it? FERC has always understood that incumbents are incented to frustrate new entry.

Benefits Add Up

SW Utilities Show Efficiency Benefits

The southwest region saw more energy saved from utility energy efficiency programs than was generated from solar power, both distributed and utility-scale.

Path Forward for Storage

Managing Aging Nuclear Storage Canisters

The Electric Power Research Institute, EPRI, will publish nuclear aging management and inspection guidance in early 2017. These will address the potential for chloride-induced stress corrosion cracking in welded stainless steel canisters in dry-cask storage systems.

Refocusing Rate Design Debates

Public Interest before Special Interest

We must get back to pricing fundamentals. The goals of performance and or incentive-based regulation apply to consumers and not just producers. Here are three questions that every rate design investigation should consider.

2016 Annual Rate Case Survey

It is often said that ratemaking is as much art as science.

It is the process of setting a return on equity that is fair to both shareholders and consumers that demonstrates the art and science practiced by regulators. One case reported here provides a good glimpse at the entire range of issues put before regulators: a decision by the Michigan Public Service Commission setting electric rates for Consumers Energy Company.