California DSM: A Pyrrhic Victory for Energy Efficiency?

California has led the nation in utility expenditures for ratepayer-subsidized energy conservation, also called

demand-side management (DSM).1

With broad-based support from utilities, consumer representatives, environmentalists, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), some $1.8 billion has been spent since 1990 (and $

Nuclear Registration: The Untold Story

Last year was pivotal for nuclear power. On May 13, 1994, the board of directors of the Washington Public Power Supply System (WPPSS) voted 9-4 to terminate reactors WNP-1 and WNP-3, triggering a dismantling of the two mothballed reactors, both about 70 percent complete. For ratepayers in the Pacific Northwest, the decision offered no relief from bills for construction of the two plants (em recently estimated at about $350 million per year for the next 24 years1. In many ways, WPPSS and its troubled history is a microcosm of the U.S.

Incentive Ratemaking in Illinois: The Transition to Competitive Markets

For the past several decades, utility regulation at the state level dealt with secure local markets and truly captive customers. A regulatory compact flourished that offered reasonable prices to customers, while guaranteeing the monopolist the opportunity to earn a fair rate of return on prudently incurred investments.

Stranded Cost Recovery: Fair and Reasonable

Stranded costs are those costs that electric utilities are currently permitted to recover through their rates but whose recovery may be impeded or prevented by the advent of competition in the industry. Estimates of these costs run from the tens to the hundreds of billions of dollars. Should regulators permit utilities to recover stranded costs while they take steps to promote competition in the electric power industry?

The Triumph of Markets in Natural Gas

During the last decade, the natural gas industry in the United States has been transformed from a heavily regulated business to one facing competitive markets. This transformation grew out of the failure of regulation; regulators, suppliers, pipelines, and customers all played a part. It continues today as the industry restructures and builds new institutions.A series of regulatory crises forced deregulation in stages: First, wellhead prices; second, gas contracts; and finally, pipeline transportation.

Natural Gas Pipelines: Roadmap to Reform

Gas pipeline reform is looming on the horizon like the stealth bomber. It faded from view a couple years ago, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) completed Order 636 and turned to electric issues. Yet gas reforms are more pressing: They began earlier, their direction is clearer, and their completion is closer at hand. In fact, without a more price-responsive market for gas transportation, we cannot fashion an efficient and integrated energy industry.

Rethinking the Secondary Market for Natural Gas Transportation

This year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plans to examine the resale of firm natural gas transportation rights, often referred to as the secondary market. The current regulatory structure, which provides for "capacity release" through an electronic bulletin board (EBB), was born in November 1993. How would this secondary market behave under different regulatory or market assumptions?

Making Sense of Peak Load Cost Allocations

Usage of utility services is rarely uniform across the day, month, or year. Dramatic increases in loads often appear at particular times of the day or in particular seasons of the year. Telephone utilities may choose not to meet extreme peak demands, but electric, natural gas, sewer, and water utilities usually do not enjoy that option. Failure to meet peak demands can lead to catastrophic consequences for both the customer and the utility, and can draw the attention of regulators.

Industry Structures and Market Mechanisms

By Seabron AdamsonSeabron Adamson is senior consultant with London Economics Ltd., a consulting firm for the private sector. A native of Georgia, Mr. Adamson joined London Economics in 1992 and currently resides in the United Kingdom.

t t t t t

The debate over "PoolCo" vs. bilateral contract markets is a question of market mechanism, or how transactions can be made while recognizing the realities of power systems.