How to allocate the costs.
Efforts to establish and quantify congestion-reduction and loss-reduction projects are progressing in electric markets with locational marginal price (LMP) regimes. The Path 15 upgrade approval by the California ISO two years ago was largely based upon its economic benefits. A draft report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), , states that ERCOT will consider transmission projects that are "economically justified by the reduction of congestion and losses."1
1 A representation of a generic interconnection, with thermal, hydro, and nuclear generation sharing a grid with a winter peaking load.
2 , 93 FERC 61,294, Dec. 15, 2000.
3 For a survey of methods, see J.W. Marangon Lima "Allocation of Transmission Fixed Charges: An Overview,", Vol. 11, No. 3, 1996.
NYPA's Nuke Auction: More at Stake Than Price?
How Colorado's settlement in the Xcel merger builds a case for treating needy ratepayers as a separate class entitled to merger benefits.
Mergers & Acquisitions
CP&L + Florida Progress. Carolina Power & Light announced Aug. 23 that it would purchase Florida Progress Corp. for $5.3 billion in a combination that would create the nation's ninth-largest utility in terms of generating capacity, with $6.7 billion in annual revenues and 2.5 million customers in three states. CP&L would pay a premium (between 16.5 percent and 21 percent) over the pre-announcement share price of FP stock.
NOX EMISSIONS. Generating heavy criticism from industry, on September 24 the Environmental Protection Agency released its long-awaited final rules on nitrogen oxide emissions, outlining a plan to reduce NOx by 28 percent by year 2007 in some 22 states and the District of Columbia, with state implementation plans due by September 1999 and controls in place by 2003, to be carried out through a "cap and trade" program to buy and sell NOx emissions credits.
CUSTOMER SERVICE LINKED THE FIVE FINALISTS OF THE 1998 ULTRA competition, with all addressing, and improving, some aspect of serving end users.
The contest winner, Florida Power & Light Co., combined old hardware with new software and other innovations - such as using the Internet - to address a problem that plagues many utilities: how to cut the number of just-paid delinquent customers who call for power reconnects.
Credit card companies say they're seeing an increase in volume for energy transactions despite claims by utilities that it costs more for them to receive monthly bills on plastic.
As proof of their desire not to take the credit card route, the utilities that allow customers to pay with a card don't always promote that option.
Holding utilities back are the transaction fees they pay for bill processing. These fees can run as high as 3 percent or more. If a customer doesn't pay the full card balance each month, the servicing bank profits even more.
UNIVERSAL SERVICE ATTRACTS MUCH ATTENTION these days, both in energy and telecommunications. But how do you measure success? Do regulators decide when goals are met by looking across an industry, or should management make the call company by company?
Consider the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It identifies the maintenance of affordable, or "universal," service for low-income consumers as an explicit statutory goal. In the electric industry, virtually every piece of restructuring legislation and every regulatory decision to date has included a universal service provision.