THE SUMMER OF 1996 OPENED COOLER THAN normal in June and July, cutting electric sales. When prices for natural gas did not fall as expected, as a counterbalance Consolidated Edison Co. of New York entered a combined gas-conversion and weather-heading transaction with power marketer Aquila Energy, giving Con Ed some measure of protection against further revenue shortfalls in August.
Nuclear Plant Fines. The Nuclear Regulatory Commis-
sion has proposed fines totaling $2.1 million against Northeast Nuclear Energy Co. for many violations at the company's Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn. The fine marks the largest civil penalty ever proposed by the NRC. Northeast Utilities said it will pay the fine, which it called "a necessary and important step toward bringing to closure a very disappointing and difficult chapter in the company's history." The utility said it will not pass the cost onto ratepayers.
Hydroelectric power generation by U.S. electric utilities increased 12 percent between 1995 and 1996, according to the latest publication by the DOE's Energy Information Administration. Hydro generation contrasted with output at gas-fired units. That dropped 15 percent to 263 billion kilowatt-hours (em the lowest level since 1993 (em partly due to a substantial increase in gas prices.
According to Electric Power Annual 1996 Volume 1, the average cost of gas delivered to electric utilities on a dollars-per-million-Btu basis was $2.64 in 1996, the highest since 1985.
First it deregulated generation.
Then distribution (no more exclusive franchise).
Only now is New Zealand turning
to the wholesale market.
A decade ago New Zealand's economy was suffering from prolonged stagnation. The country relied too much on the public sector.
The governments of most Latin American countries have yet to establish clear policies about the future ownership of existing generation assets, but they do expect future capacity to be largely developed by the private sector. This has created friction in some countries between governments, which are eager to limit the role of the state in electric supply, and national utilities, which feel threatened and continue preparing traditional expansion plans.
The other day I heard a short news item on National Public Radio that made me stop and think. The item ran something like this: "Maxwell House has announced it will cut the price of its loose ground coffee to reflect a drop in the coffee futures market several months out."
Wasn't that easy? Call it integrated resource planning in the espresso lane. Note what Maxwell House did not do. It did not solicit a demand forecast or run the PROMOD computer model.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has adopted a policy statement on hydroelectric plant decommissioning, claiming authority to deny new project licenses when existing licenses expire and to order owners to remove a dam during the relicensing process. These measures would only be applied if the FERC concludes that a project, no matter how many conditions were imposed, could no longer meet the comprehensive development standard of the Federal Power Act (FPA) (Docket No. RM93-23-000).
The statement was one of three hydroelectric orders considered as a group.