Frontlines & Op-Ed

How to Tango With a Regulator

Utilities and financiers want ratepayers to fund the next wave of power plants. Will higher electric rates spoil the party?

You’ve heard the story. The local utility ought to be investing billions in new power plants, but the company CEO wants a guarantee from regulators for upfront costs and future operating expenses before laying down dollar one on the project. What to do? Utility CEOs attending the Edison Electric Institute’s 40th Financial Conference last month in Hollywood, Fla., were shuffling to the old rate base song-and-dance. But this time, they were working out a few new moves.

Letters to the Editor

Jay Morrison, Senior Regulatory Counsel, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: I was disappointed to see that two different articles in the October 2005 issue erroneously stated that the Electricity Modernization Act requires net metering.

Frontlines

Is the predicted crisis this winter a failure of policy, the market, or both?

Given the free market in natural gas, why haven't prices attracted the needed infrastructure or supply? (LNG imports are actually down from last year.) What policies could have been contemplated ahead of national legislation? Or put more simply, why has supply lagged demand?

The Cost of Katrina

Debate continues on how to safeguard America's energy infrastructure.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the central question: Could any of this have been avoided? Many experts believe that the new authority given to FERC to enforce mandatory reliability standards, as per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will bring greater transparency to the process of protecting critical infrastructure.

Letter to the Editor

Chris King and Dan Delurey provide additional analysis for their recent paper, “Energy Efficiency and Demand Response: Twins, Siblings, or Cousins?” Fortnightly, March 2005.

Hold the Champagne?

There is much to celebrate in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but what will federal regulators do?

When we least expected it, the politicians finally were able to pull a multi-billion white rabbit out of their hat—enacting a comprehensive national energy law (Energy Policy Act of 2005) that will usher in extraordinary changes in the industry However, just how the new law really will affect the industry is the question of the hour, with many provisions of the law left to the interpretation of regulators.

One Fine Reliability Mess

Infrastructure isn't keeping pace. So how to "help" the market without killing it?

What's the right price signal to bring forth enough infrastructure to maintain reliability over the long haul? Moreover, if such a model exists, can it work without stifling competitive markets?

Utilities on Steroids

What's behind today's oddball mergers?

Look at the gargantuan, gerrymandered service territories you would get with the latest pending merger deals: Exelon-PSEG, Duke-Cinergy, and Warren Buffet's bid to combine PacifiCorp with his MidAmerican Energy. Now ask yourself if they make any sense.

Revenge of the ’70s

A guide to the galaxy of low growth, high interest rates, and the dark side of the Force.

Many executives are hoping to avoid a repeat of the 1970s, when first hit the big screen, and when inflation, nuclear cost overruns, and diminishing returns came calling in an economic climate that today's markets threaten to emulate.

A New Solid South

Where Entergy leads, will Wal-Mart follow?

Everyone is talking about Entergy's move to form a single-company RTO-lite across its service territory in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.