Frontlines & Op-Ed

Frontlines

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.

Frontlines

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.

Frontlines

Wall Street wants utilities to return to basics, but the CEOs worry it won't be enough.

Frontlines

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.

Frontlines

The blackout could doom deregulation, but why treat reliability and reform as either-or?

Frontlines

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?

Frontlines

The Northeast Blackout goes political.

Frontlines

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."

Frontlines

Bankruptcy may not be better for ratepayers.

Frontlines

Bankruptcy may not be better for ratepayers.

Frontlines

The ISO graples with the politics of scarity.

The ISO graples with the politics of scarity.

In regions that have embraced electric industry restructuring, such as New York, New England, and the mid-Atlantic states, where independent system operators (ISOs) have taken over and the standard market design (SMD) has grabbed a foothold over bulk power transactions, one fascinating question still dogs theorists and policymakers alike:

Is a power supply shortage really all that bad?

Frontlines

The United States must turn overseas for natural gas supplies, in spite of worries about energy independence.