Frontlines & Op-Ed

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.

Letters to the Editor

Why not let the industry make its own decisions on how to meet economy-wide reductions in greenhouse-gas intensity as a percentage of GDP? It can be demonstrated easily that the land requirements for biomass to replace fossil fuels far exceed what is available in the world and the United States, including croplands, pastures, and meadows.

Guns, Butter, or Green?

Utilities will face stark tradeoffs in meeting the next round of emissions controls.

Some utility execs gasp at the shear breadth of environmental proposals being bandied about during the past few weeks. Even the environmentalists are calling "historical" the extent to which different kinds of emissions will be regulated.

Frontlines

Can utility executives find happiness in back-to-basics?

Frontlines

Can utility executives find happiness in back-to-basics?

We've read the pitch a number of times in these very pages. Top investment bankers have told us that a "back-to-basics" strategy will never produce a high-enough return to please electric utility stockholders; that the only solution to bridge this "earnings gap" would involve a rash of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) between utilities.

Monopolists in Our Midst

What happens when economists and state regulators give up on electric restructuring?

It’s not to be taken lightly when several high-profile economists reverse themselves on electric competition—giving up on policies they had pushed for years. It’s also quite serious when regulators and legislators in pro-competitive states become willing to discuss a repeal of electric restructuring laws. These developments, seen over the fast few months, have set the industry buzzing.

A Better Merchant Mousetrap?

The failure of the Empire Connection spells trouble for private transmission projects.

It’s at the very heart of all policy initiatives for both electric generation and transmission: How do you attract the right amount of investment without creating an overbuilt market, or a boom-bust scenario? In recent months, utility executives, financiers, and policy-makers have been asking this question with even greater zeal than usual.