Do-nothing regulators scare off investment, raising prospects for yet another large-scale power failure.
Last summer's blackout is slowly fading from the radar screen. The silver lining that might have moved some to action has now tarnished.
Frontlines & Op-Ed
Is FERC the rightful heir?
The possibility that energy legislation drafted last year won't pass in 2004 has created a power vacuum. Who now is czar of electric utility reliability? Language in the proposed bill would have answered that question. But when Congress demurred, did that imply an endorsement of the ?
The legal battle of the century is ready to begin.
Tantamount to a declaration of war with state regulators was the order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) late last year, over the objections of Kentucky and Virginia, that AEP must join the PJM grid to meet conditions of its 2000 merger with Central and Southwest Corp.
Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
"Frontlines" from the Nov. 1, 2003, addressed what Richard Stavros called "AEP's Gutsy Gambit." In the process of panning AEP's strategy, Mr. Stavros demonstrates no understanding or appreciation of the state law issues he purports to address in his essay. I am responding because, by unmistakable implication, Kentucky is one of the "certain state regulators" he repeatedly takes to task.
CERA's Daniel Yergin says global gas markets will define the new century, just as oil did for the last 100 years.
Cambridge Energy Research Associates Chairman Daniel Yergin captures in a few words oil's extraordinary past. Might those words one day describe the next 100 years of natural gas development? Talking with Yergin in early November, I found a man convinced that the forces that shaped a global oil market are at work in shaping a global market for natural gas. I'll be sharing some of his words with you.
Regulators are starting to show signs of strain over the restructuring debate.
Up to now, many in the industry thought everybody but the regulators had tired of the constant back-and-forth over regional market issues such as standard market design. This is not to say that state regulators have been able to find any common resolution. In fact, in our annual Regulators Forum on page 22, PUC chiefs from five states continue to disagree on what role the federal government should have.
It would join an RTO but dictate the terms-a dangerous game that has the industry talking.
It would join an RTO but dictate the terms-a dangerous game that has the industry talking. When I talked a few months ago with AEP President and CEO Linn Draper Jr., he discussed how his company would have joined the PJM RTO in March were it not for the backlash he was getting from certain state regulators.
Wall Street wants utilities to return to basics, but the CEOs worry it won't be enough.
One can certainly understand why so many utility chiefs steered their companies back to basics over the past two years. They read the newspapers. They knew what the financial community was saying. Investors and debt-rating agencies might have overreacted, I suppose. Some on Wall Street seem to think so. Not all utilities should have been downgraded or downsized, they argue. Not all business plans were suspect.
The blackout could doom deregulation, but why treat reliability and reform as either-or?
Driving west near Cleveland on the Ohio Turnpike back in August, a few days after the big blackout, I saw what looked like a small helicopter hovering up ahead, about 25 feet from the top of a transmission tower.
Was this a prank? Had terrorists struck? Or was it the local TV news station, just trying to get a closer look?
The Northeast Blackout goes political.
Nearly a year ago, cover story announced the rise of the chief risk officer (CRO). "Utility senior management is becoming positively enamored with the office of the CRO," we said. "Fully 40 percent of America's CROs work for utilities and energy companies."