There are essentially two kinds of reliability: sufficient generating capacity, and sufficient transmission capacity. Although it often receives the most attention, generation accounts for only about 10 percent of reliability concerns. Even when there is a problem, there is usually time to prepare; demand can be reduced through voltage reductions, interruptible customers, public appeals, and as a last resort, rotating blackouts.
As the generation side of the electric industry becomes increasingly deregulated and transmission migrates toward common carrier status, an easily administered and fairly applied pricing system must be developed. The concepts of "postage stamp" tariffs and "contract paths" lose all logical viability. They possess no totally encompassing tie between the provider of the service and the revenues for that service.
More than a decade ago, at the 1981 Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Fall Financial Conference in Palm Beach, FL, I presented my vision of the future of the electric industry. I called my talk "Let's End the Monopoly." In it I urged, "Let's open electricity generation to competition (em with free entry, no franchises, and no obligation to serve." The response was underwhelming.
From the perspective of the last 14 years, how have my forecasts turned out?