Frontlines & Op-Ed

Hot-Potato Policy

DOE loan guarantees degenerate into a political game.

Once upon a time, the U.S. Congress started a game of hot potato. The potato, otherwise known as the EPAct Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, has been bouncing around Washington, D.C., since 2005. But now that the industry is getting a good look at the potato, it looks decidedly funky—stuffed with caveats and half-measures. Whether that’s good or bad depends largely on whether you believe the government belongs in the potato game in the first place.

Letters to the Editor

(December 2007) John Ferguson responds to “Creating the Perfect Regulator”: "Burr identifies four fundamental goodness traits: omniscience, Solomonic wisdom, clairvoyance and righteousness. Inherent in these traits, but not specifically addressed by Burr, is the ability to recognize and reject advice from those interested in telling the regulator what the advisors think the regulator wants to hear instead of what the regulator should hear."

Creating the Perfect Regulator

Regulatory complexities call for supernatural skills

A regulator’s “goodness” is defined by four fundamental traits: Omniscience; Solomonic Wisdom; Clairvoyance; and Righteousness.

Recession Reprieve

An economic slowdown might buy time for regulatory change.

Last month’s “Frontlines” column invoked the dreaded “R” word: “recession.” In what turned out to be Executive Editor Richard Stavros’s final column in this space (Richard left the Fortnightly in September to join Dominion Resources in Richmond, Va.), he suggested the industry’s fortunes might actually benefit from an economic downturn, as Wall Street money flees toward defensive investments.

Letters to the Editor

A lengthy letter to the editor addresses whether the Energy Information Administration’s gas-market forecasts, as laid out in a recent article, are biased. The authors of the original piece, Timothy J. Considine and Frank A. Clemente, then respond to the letter.

Sub-Primed and Ready

Will the turmoil on Wall Street spur a massive flight to utilities?

There remains a concern that during the next economic downturn investors will pass on utilities again. The reason is that the industry’s risks are still opaque to investors.

Kelliher's "Believe It or Not!"

FERC attempts to reform competitive markets.

The fact that FERC actually released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in late June, on competitive markets of all subjects, has many in disbelief.

Wind Goes Hollywood

The spotlight is on. But true stardom will require more direction from utilities.

Wind has become today’s hit—a potential blockbuster, even—but still needing that one big break. To make it big, utilities will have to lead the charge as owners. That will force utilities to consider and evaluate the significant credit implications that can arise when signing a power purchase agreement with developers that lack deep pockets, or implement fly- by-night schemes.

Viewpoint: In Defense of Markets

The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.

A motley assortment of naysayers and recalcitrants continue to oppose competitive electricity markets around the world. But the alternative to markets is centralized command economics—a discredited concept that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

A Climate Emergency?

Capacity shortages from global warming should be the real cause for alarm.

Suppose the experts are wrong about climate change. Suppose they’ve underestimated the impact of global warming. Of course, to longtime readers of Public Utilities Fortnightly, the idea that a warming climate might force adjustments in utility resource plans is nothing new.