If Jane Austen were writing this column, she would begin something like this: "It is a truth university acknowledged, that a natural gas distributor in possession of a good franchise must be in want of an electric utility to merge with."

That's the rule of electric/gas convergence. But as an editor, my instinct when I uncover such a "rule" tell me to look for a reason why it ain't so. That's why I got such a kick from a recent conversation with Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the New York State Assembly.


If truth is the first casualty of war, as we learned from author Mark Krebs ("It's a War Out There: A Gas Man Questions Electric 'Efficiency,'" December 1996, p. 24), then certainly the truth has been mutilated beyond recognition.

His article, which suggests that electric utilities have used conservation and demand-side programs improperly (to build electric load at the expense of natural gas!) is full of inaccuracies, misleading charts and other errors.

EIA Predicts Further Nuclear Growth

According to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), nuclear power continued as an important source of electricity in 1995, accounting for 22 percent of total worldwide electric generation. The report, "Nuclear Power Generation and Fuel Cycle Report 1996," projects continued worldwide growth for nuclear plants in the near term, but uncertain long-term prospects.

Worldwide, nuclear plants generated

2,225 terawatt-hours in 1995, a four percent increase from 1994 (one terawatt equals 1000 gigawatts, or one million megawatts).

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.

A Champion for Public Power

Soft-spoken, but no featherweight,

APPA Director Alan Richardson will fight

toe-to-toe with well-heeled

adversaries. If he were a boxer, his name might be Alan "The Right" Richardson.

The executive director of the American Public Power Association (APPA) always toes the canvas, swinging for equity for his 1,750 members, shadowing its "heavyweight" adversaries, investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs).

DOE's Curtis Champions Natural Gas R&D

Charles B. Curtis, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, spoke on the world energy balance and its impact on U.S. markets at the American Gas Association (A.G.A.) Natural Gas Roundtable on April 2 in Washington, DC. Curtis pointed out the security implications of the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast that global demand for oil might reach an additional 20 million barrels a day by 2010, and that the Persian Gulf would likely supply 75 percent of that demand.


Forecasts Send ROEs Wide of the Mark

In a recent "Offpeak" ("Forecasting is Just That," Jan. 1, 1996, p. 54), David Foti and Clay Denton report data showing the percentage of error found in various seven-year forecasts of natural gas prices (1988-94) produced by the American Gas Association (A.G.A.), Energy Information Administration (EIA), DRI/McGraw-Hill (DRI), Gas Research Institute, and WEFA Group. These errors ranged from approximately 50 to 95 percent.

Gas Price Behavior: Gauging Links Between Hubs and Markets

Price disparities make hedging difficult (em all the more since futures close before bid week ends. Even so,

a strategy helps.

Gas markets in the United States are complicated, dynamic, and evolving. They offer significant commercial opportunities for some companies, commercial hazards for others.

Many companies find it difficult to estimate the price they will receive for gas the next year, month, week, or day.