Frontlines & Op-Ed

Islands in the Storm

Microgrids begin to make economic sense.

With microgrids in place, doomsday preppers wouldn't need to worry so much about a zombie plague.

Perfect Superstorm

Could carbon taxes emerge in the election aftermath?

Since Obama won reelection, we must ask whether we’d rather have EPA cracking down on carbon emissions, or whether a legislated framework would be better for everyone.

Maximum Burden

The electricity price increases from the proposed EPA Utility MACT will act as a regressive tax on the elderly.

Although EPA claims its tough new clean air regulations will improve public health, in fact they’ll measurably degrade the health of Florida seniors.

Cleanup Time

Retrofitting early protected North Carolina ratepayers.

Ongoing litigation over EPA rules raises compliance risks and costs. North Carolina utilities, however, benefited from the state’s forward thinking.

The Old Drawing Board

Portfolio planning in the age of gas.

PUCs are concerned that a rapid shutdown of coal-fired plants will start a full-tilt dash to gas—similar to the one that caused bankruptcies among independent power producers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But this time around, ratepayers and not IPP investors will be stuck with the risk, if utilities rush to add all that new gas-fired capacity to rate base.

Views from the Bond Side

How fixed income investors view the utility sector.

Bond investors are keen for signs of a legitimate recovery, and will be looking to move into holdco bonds.

Dividend Double-Take

What happens when the Bush tax cuts expire?

Congress again is embroiled in another hyper-partisan food fight that threatens to blow up into a fiscal crisis. And once again dividend-paying companies like utilities are caught in the crossfire.

Mitt Romney and You

Bold plan for independence, or more partisan overreach?

The Republican nominee’s energy plan doesn’t say much about electricity or natural gas. But what it does say should sound familiar to anyone who’s followed energy policy for more than four years.

Are We Smart Yet?

Rising expectations in the Dog Days of summer.

Yet another sweltering summer is causing its share of outages and supply problems, with predictable backlash from customers and policy makers. And with the advances we’ve seen in recent years, perhaps again we should be asking whether we’re adequately focused on our most critical mission: keeping the power on.

The Methane Myth

Incompetence and overreach at the EPA.

The EPA’s new method for measuring the amount of methane that escapes from natural gas wells is based on flawed data. Oklahoma’s attorney general says this misguided policy decision treads on state regulatory authority and stifles resource development.