Frontlines & Op-Ed

'Markets' Test

We Called Them 'Markets.' Now We're Testing Them.

We're enamored of free markets, particularly in the nineties. But power markets cannot come close to emulating authentic competition. Why? They cannot satisfy the basic conditions of competition taught in microeconomics 101.

Letter: Response to Cicchetti Re: Residential Demand Charges

A response to the article by Charles Cicchetti in our December 2016 issue

Charles Cicchetti's December 2016 article asserts TOU rates are a preferable alternative to demand charges for distributed energy resources (DER) customers. But TOU rates are not enough to maximize the benefits of DER.

Why Innovation?

Also, What, Who, Where, When?

Why is innovation all the rage? Yes, continual improvement always makes sense. But the dramatic changes being talked about, are they that urgent? Let's recognize how much customers vary in their electricity wants and needs, within service territories, between territories, and between states.

In Only the Second Period of Low Real Rates and Bills

How Should We Manage and Regulate Now?

Electric bills this March were just a tick off the pace of the all-time low. In this unique period, how should we regulate utilities? Should we correct course? Should we allow greater growth of non-fuel costs to – let’s say – buy some more reliability?

Hiding Electricity's Complexity

Should We Lift the Curtain?

Almost nobody realizes the most advanced technology helps us manage grids, operate plants, integrate renewables, route flows, limit peak demand, and restore service after storms. Should we lift the curtain covering the network’s complexity?

The Way We Live, and Renewables

When and Where DG Penetration is Miniscule, What Then?

As fast-growing as it is, rooftop solar will remain a rarity among large proportions of the American public. Which presents a real problem to utilities and utility regulators. Perhaps this is why utility-scale has such appeal.

Response to Borlick Re: Order 745

A response to the article by Robert Borlick in our July 2016 Issue

Bob Borlick took to task FERC, Charlie Cicchetti and the Supreme Court in the context of FERC Order 745. Bob’s key point is his view that “Order 745 overcompensates demand response.” Bob’s argument starts from an implicit but false premise.

Response to Cicchetti Re: Net Metering

A response to the letter by Charles Cicchetti in our April 2016 issue, which was a response to the letter by Ashley Brown in our February 2016 issue.

As Ashley Brown correctly stated in his letter, large-scale solar projects produce electricity at roughly half the cost of that produced by rooftop solar. Charlie states that customers installing rooftop solar are: “… paying to reduce dependence on greenhouse gases and to expand societal benefits ....” Not exactly.

Response to Two Articles Re: Grid Resilience

A general response to the articles by Michael Deggendorf and by Paul Afonso, Lauren Azar, Dian Grueneich, James Hoecker in our August 2016 issue

Two articles in the August 2016 issue made the irrefutable case that we need to shore up grid resilience. I can’t argue with those measures. But I’m not sure that they are getting to the root of the problem. Perhaps we need to spend more time asking whether small decentralized systems can accomplish the same end as the large systems.