September 1, 2000
Wakeup Call in San Diego?
By Regina R. Johnson
The California Power Exchange doesn't solicit separate bids for plant start-up, spinning reserve or base load operation. That can make spark spreads a bit misleading
IT SHOULD COME AS NO SURPRICE THAT THE PROSPECT OF electric competition has created a huge demand for price forecasting services. To their credit, the forecasters have obliged, supplying an abundance of tools and techniques. Do the forecasts serve the needs of those who would use them?
Some might wish to use a price forecast to assign a value to assets.
WHETHER DOING BUSINESS IN SANTIAGO OR Krakow, Budapest or Bang Kraui, American energy service companies agree: It's tough to find a lender to finance international projects.
ESCO executives working around the globe met to commiserate at the International Roundtable on Energy Efficiency Financing Feb. 26-27 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arlington, Va. Sponsors of the Roundtable included the National Association of Energy Service Companies and the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
UNDER RETAIL COMPETITION, AT LEAST SOME electricity customers will make purchase decisions out of concern for the environment. A variety of utility green pricing programs already target environmentally concerned consumers. Recent experience in Massachusetts and New Hampshire confirms that utilities and power marketers are gearing up for full-fledged green power marketing to differentiate their products in a competitive environment.
All three may apply, especially if regulators go wrong and let ISOs make the business decisions.
Electricity transmission is a real business. With more than $50 billion of net plant, another $3 billion annually in capital expenditures and yearly operating income that could reach $5 billion per year under normal circumstances, the power grid is roughly twice the size of the natural gas pipeline industry. One would never know that from current events, however. Utility management treats transmission as an inconvenient stepchild.
Speaking on June 11 in Washington, D.C., at a symposium sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Rep. dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) was heard to say that he would have his electric restructuring bill out of committee by the end of July. He said his bill would mandate electric competition by 2000--just the sort of deadline that Texas Public Utility Commission Chair Robert Gee likes to call a "Hong Kong" clause.
Will the millennium bring the dawn of customer choice? Here we are, halfway through 1997. Hong Kong is now Chinese, but in America we are still ratepayers.
The California Public Utilities Commission elected members to two boards overseeing energy efficiency and low-income programs. The board for energy efficiency programs members are: Acting Chair Sara Steck Myers, CEERT; Dave Gamson, CPUC commissioner advisor; Michael Messenger, California Energy Commission; Peter Miller, Natural Resources Defense Council; Mark Thayer, San Diego State University; Ortensia Lopez, Greenlining Institute; Charles Goldman, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; Michael Shame, UCAN; and Don Schultz, CPUC Office of Ratepayer Advocates.
William A. Fox was named president of The Peoples Natural Gas Co. and Hope Gas, Inc. (em both subsidiaries of Consolidated Natural Gas Co. Fox comes from Virginia Natural Gas, another subsidiary. Succeeding him is Jerry L. Causey, VNG's operations v.p. Francis J. Corbett, formerly g.m. of VNG's northern division office, steps into Causey's post. Jose M. Simon was made controller at the corporate office. Joseph R.
As electric restructuring spreads around the nation and the world, the idea of a "PoolCo" spot market (pool) gains credence. Pools already exist in England, Australia, Norway, Alberta, and Argentina. On December 20,1 the California Public Utilities Commission formally proposed a pool, called the California Power Exchange, to begin operation as of January 1, 1998.