Viewpoint: In Defense of Markets

The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.

A motley assortment of naysayers and recalcitrants continue to oppose competitive electricity markets around the world. But the alternative to markets is centralized command economics—a discredited concept that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Restructuring Revisited

What we can learn from retail-rate increases in restructured and non-restructured states.

Significant rate increases in many retail-access states have regulators and policy-makers asking whether customer choice and utility restructuring have failed, and what they can do about these rate increases.

Greening the Grid

Can markets co-exist with renewable mandates?

Part way through the Feb. 27 conference on electric competition, it was so quiet you could hear a hockey puck slide across the ice. No, hell had not frozen over. Rather, it was Commissioner Marc Spitzer, who had found a clever story to ease the tension and allay fears that FERC somehow might want to undo the sins of the past, and give up its dream of workable markets for wholesale power.

Demand Response: The Missing Link

Everyone is in favor of more demand response, but little gets delivered when system operators need it the most.

Despite overwhelming theoretical and empirical evidence, we aren’t seeing more DR when it is needed most—during emergency periods. The reasons boil down to two obstacles, both of which must be addressed before widespread DR implementation can move forward.

Demand Response: Breaking Out of the Bubble

Using demand response to mitigate rate shocks.

In the minds of many policy-makers, DR has become associated with rate shocks, rate volatility, unpredictability, and loss of control over energy costs—the very things DR was designed to overcome. What can be done to change this?

A Business Case: Energy Efficiency in the New Environment

Investments in energy efficiency can be a growing revenue source. Strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

To turn efficiency investments into a growing revenue source, strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

Merchant Transmission Redux

Financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not induced needed construction. Presenting an alternative model.

By almost any measure, the nation is running short of transmission, and the existing volume of investment cannot long continue to reliably accommodate retail-load growth and larger wholesale volumes. Factors like environmental opposition also have caused declines and delays in transmission investment, but it seems clear that financial transmission rights and regulated returns have not sufficed to induce the necessary construction. The authors propose a new model to reward investors who lower congestion costs.

The Challenge of Implementing NERC's Cyber Standard

How to develop, implement, and operate a security program.

In May 2, 2006, the NERC board of trustees adopted the Critical Infrastructure Protection Cyber Security Standard. This article provides some answers to questions in the form of security program development, implementation, and operation.

A Consumer Advocate's View: Decoupling and Energy Efficiency

Two sides of the same coin.

When I became the Consumers’ Counsel for the state of Ohio in April 2004, natural-gas prices were hovering between $7/Mcf and $8/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). In the next year and a half, Ohioans saw gas prices double, peaking at a residential statewide average of $16.89/Mcf in the month of September 2005. The latter reflects the exacerbation of prices, already high, by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the gulf region. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the national security and energy independence issues that arise from these circumstances, but rather to examine what we can do in the United States to ensure affordable and reliable supplies for residential consumers in both the short and long term.