Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 2002

100-to-1 Odds

Why merchant transmission still looks iffy.

The other week, courtesy of Infocast and its Transmission Summit 2002, held in Washington, D.C. in late January, I got to see, hear, and ask questions of three emerging stars of the merchant transmission biz.

Letter to the Editor

A response to "Frontlines," Feb. 1, 2002.

Kudos to you for your well‑developed editorial pointing out that the administration's announcement is not quite half baked, and that utilities are key to the implementation of a hydrogen fueled transportation initiative.

People (March 1, 2002)

Robert Foss was named VP of gas operations for Atlanta Gas Light Company. American Electric Power named Thomas J. Kalb managing director, project finance—wholesale. Avista Advantage, an affiliate of Avista Corp., announced two executive changes. And others ...

The Golden Age: How Long Will It Last?

Gas execs trust 30 Tcf market remains in the pipeline.

Natural gas industry officials hope they'll be able to look back at 2001 and view the year's series of sideshows as only minor setbacks to their goal of raising the industry's stature and further improving the efficiency of the gas business. Although the industry continues to feel aftershocks from California's electric market restructuring failure and Enron's collapse, many signs point to a relatively painless rebound for a business that has grown increasingly competitive since the mid‑1980s.

Patience Breeds Profits for Gas‑Centric Utility

Robert Best, Chairman, President and CEO of Atmos Energy

Will Atmos remain a gas‑only utility company?

You never say never. Our strategy to date has been to stick with natural gas. We serve a lot of small and medium‑size communities in our eleven states. We haven't taken on more than we can deal with. We started in 1983 with 300,000 customers in West Texas and when we complete the Mississippi Valley acquisition, we'll be 1.7 million customers.

Pacific Northwest Gas Utility Blazes New Path

Richard Reiten, Chairman and CEO of Northwest Natural Gas

How has the gas utility industry changed during your tenure as head of Northwest Natural?

The trends are clear. When I arrived six years ago, we as a company benchmarked 34 gas distribution utilities as comparable companies in most respects to Northwest Natural Gas. Today, we're benchmarking only 14. The convergence issues of gas and electric are important. That's a real issue of how to manage the clear trend toward combination companies.

Unbundling Compels Chicago‑bound Pipe to Break the Mold

Deb Macdonald, President of Kinder Morgan's Natural Gas Pipeline of America

NGPL focused almost exclusively on the Chicago marketplace where our major LDC customers were. Obviously, the industry has changed substantially and your customer mix needs to change substantially as the industry changes.