As electric utilities move ever closer to all-out competition, senior executives are streamlining their organizations, reducing spending, and developing strategic plans to ensure their company's future success. Organizations that cannot substantiate their contribution to the company's financial bottom line risk major budget cuts.
Environmental Protection Agency
As competition in the electric industry increases, so does utility concern about the effect of demand-side management (DSM) programs on electricity prices. Because DSM programs often raise prices, several utilities have recently reduced the scope of their DSM programs or focused these programs more on customer service and less on improving energy efficiency (see sidebar). Whether all utilities should follow suit is, however, open to question. We contend that DSM programs do not always exert upward pressure on prices (em just sometimes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded 1,349 acid rain bonus allowances to 10 utilities: City of Austin; New York State Electric and Gas; Orange and Rockland; Western Massachusetts Electric; United Illuminating; Cincinnati Gas and Electric; Massachusetts Electric; Granite State Electric; Narragansett Electric; and Long Island Lighting. The awards are based on utility energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.
Pursuant to the acid rain requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, an allowance licenses the emission of one ton of sulfur dioxide (SO2).
With the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) come many complex decisions for electric utilities. By now the majority of utilities have decided how they will comply with the clean air guidelines and acid rain program limits, at least for Phase I. But for those utilities that have selected coal switching as the preferred method of complying with the law, the task gets more complicated. Burn expensive low-sulfur coal and bank or sell allowances? Or burn just enough low-sulfur coal to meet the rules, and no more?
In his article, "Why Taxes Don't Distort Emissions Trading" (Dec. 1, 1994, p. 37), Michael Thomas suggests that utilities should flow through the proceeds of emission allowance sales to ratepayers in the year of sale. His idea is that utilities can eliminate any net effect on current income taxes by matching the increased revenue (emissions sales proceeds) against a revenue decrease (lower rates charged to customers). Slam dunk. End of story. Unfortunately, it's not so simple.
Over 300 bills were introduced in the first week of the new Congress that convened in January, among them a bill by Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) aimed at correcting the government's seriously flawed nuclear waste storage program. Johnston heralded S.
Noting the growing global demand for new sources of energy, Congress tailored the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) to make U.S. public utility holding companies more competitive abroad. First, it eased the Securities and Exchange Commission review of U.S. investment in foreign energy facilities. Second, it sought to expand U.S. participation in foreign energy-related projects to include U.S. technology as well as investment dollars.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan by 12 northeastern states and the District of Columbia (the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC)) to improve air quality under the Clean Air Act. The plan allows the OTC to establish an alternative-fuel vehicle program fashioned after California's, beginning in model year 1999, or to choose other measures that would provide equivalent pollution reductions. The OTC plan envisions the sale of certain advanced technology vehicles that reduce pollution by more than 70 percent.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has vacated the Clean Air Act (CAA) compliance rules for reducing NOx emissions from coal-burning electric facilities (Alabama Power Co. v. EPA, No. 94-1170, 94-1329, Nov. 29, 1994). The ruling suspends any obligation to comply with the NOx standards pending further rulemaking by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).