Labor Day found me trudging around in one of those "big box" discount stores, looking for a sale on a new refrigerator. Out West, California lawmakers spent the holiday putting together their own discount plan (em this one promising rate cuts for the state's residential electric consumers, funded by "rate reduction bonds" backed by a state-owned bank for economic development.

Either way you cut it, the holiday proved worthy of its name.

Generation: Big or Small?

Generation: Big orDistributed power may turn

heads, but economics points

to central plants.

By Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

By 2010, distributed power technologies will make up as much as 30 percent of new electric generation.


In telecommunications, regulators turn increasingly to the nebulous term known as "cost-based" to set pricing policy. An example is the new Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act), whose pricing standards for interconnection and network element charges stipulate that the just and reasonable rate for the interconnection of facilities and equipment should be "based on the cost ...

States Promote Local Telephone Competition

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has set rates and terms for unbundled interconnection services that U S WEST Communications, Inc., a local exchange carrier (LEC), must provide to other carriers seeking to provide competitive local service. The IUB ruled that U S WEST must use the Total Service Long Run Incremental Cost method to set prices for the use of its facilities. It also ruled that the LEC may include "an appropriate markup" in the rates as well as a contribution to shared and common costs of the local loop.

Thermal Energy Storage: Putting Green Solutions on Site

Thermal Energy Storage: Putting

Green Solutions

on SiteBy John E. Flory, Loren W. McCannon, Stan Tory,

Donald L. Geistert, and James PattersonA recent study coordinated by the California Energy Commission shows how stored-cooling applications provide both environmental and competitive benefits in a summer-peaking market.As California prepares for a more competitive electric future, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is taking another look at some key customer technologies.

N.Y. Isues Electric Restructuring Plan

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued a framework of goals and strategies for restructuring the electric industry in the state. The PSC directs all electric utilities in the state that have not yet initiated restructuring to file plans that will open the retail generation and energy-service markets to competition for all customer classes.

Market Structure (em PoolCo Model. The PSC adopted a "flexible retail PoolCo" model to ensure an orderly transition to retail competition.

Texas PUC Develops ECOM Model

To prepare a report on stranded investment mandated by the Texas legislature, the Texas Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has asked electric utilities to file the required financial information using a new model.

The model consists of six scenarios that use a number of variables approved by the PUC to yield a broad estimate of excess cost over market (ECOM) (em a measure of potential stranded costs. Each utility will file 54 "snapshots" of its potential excess-cost factors based on various competitive market scenarios and market-price assumptions.

Flexible Pricing and PBR: Making Rate Discounts Fair for Core Customers

With competition looming, electric utilities increasingly resort to price discounts, both to retain customers and to alleviate some of the pressure to introduce retail competition. Performance-based ratemaking (PBR), which allows utilities greater flexibility in offering price discounts, is emerging as an integral component of many restructuring proposals.

However, flexible pricing can create inequity among ratepayers.

Pipelines: Beware of Riptides

Gas restructuring didn't end with Order 636, it just outran the regulators. Now the rules come from the downstream dealmakers.

Gas restructuring didn't end with Order 636, it just outran the regulators. Now the rules come from the downstream dealmakers.