What next? That seems to be the question on every utility executive's mind. After two years of stomach-wrenching ratings downgrades, agonizing downward valuations, embarrassing accounting scandals, skyrocketing gas prices, and positively stubborn mild weather, or the "perfect storm," as many have called it, many believe the worst is now over.
But will the the recovery be worth the wait?
FERC should consider a two-part tariff to boost transmission investment.
Transmission, rather than generation, is generally the constraint preventing customers from getting the power they desire.
The blackout could doom deregulation, but why treat reliability and reform as either-or?
Driving west near Cleveland on the Ohio Turnpike back in August, a few days after the big blackout, I saw what looked like a small helicopter hovering up ahead, about 25 feet from the top of a transmission tower.
Was this a prank? Had terrorists struck? Or was it the local TV news station, just trying to get a closer look?
The ISO graples with the politics of scarity.
In regions that have embraced electric industry restructuring, such as New York, New England, and the mid-Atlantic states, where independent system operators (ISOs) have taken over and the standard market design (SMD) has grabbed a foothold over bulk power transactions, one fascinating question still dogs theorists and policymakers alike:
Is a power supply shortage really all that bad?
PJM would dictate grid expansion, even if not needed for reliability, and then push the cost of the upgrades on those who use them the most.
Chairman Pat Wood and his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may well have given up on attempts to impose a standard market design (SMD) on the electric utility industry, but that doesn't mean the nation's grid system operators won't try the same thing.
The commission tacks a new name onto a familiar concept.
By now it is old news that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on April 28 back-pedaled on standard market design (SMD), even renaming it the "wholesale power market platform." But SMD is far from dead, as some had wished. Instead, it is merely toned down, bowing to political furor and regional differences.
The market speaks but we don't listen.
Will someone please tell me: Where is the proof that the electric utility industry needs more investment in electric transmission? Is it not possible that we already have enough miles of high-voltage line?
I can scarcely turn around but see a new conference or workshop on how to encourage the electric industry to invest more in transmission infrastructure. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) leads that charge, though as a regulator it ought to stay neutral.