June 15, 2001
Forget Black Gold or Texas Tea ...
Utility restructuring seems to prompt more lawsuits by customers.
In Chicago, Commonwealth Edison Co. settles a class action lawsuit for a heat-wave outage, paying $2.5 million for items including "food spoilage," to customers served by certain city substations. In California, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spends $8.3 million to resolve 98 percent of some 6,600 outage-related claims.
Power plants can bid on more than one product. That's why most spark-spread studies miss the mark.
Forward energy prices can make it look easy to place a value on a power plant. Yet something is missing. Plants can sell more than one product. One price may be up while another is down. As Einstein said, a theory should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
That is why it is worth reexamining the methods commonly used to calculate forward price curves and estimate the expected revenues and profits of generating assets.