Restructuring Plans. The Ohio PUC denied rehearing of its restructuring order for FirstEnergy issued two months earlier, rejecting arguments by all petitioners-utility, marketers, and consumer watchdog groups.
Both look overseas for project developers, but some U.S. firms worry they'll miss out.
T+D Out, G+D In
Why not keep the power plants and sell off transmission instead?
Distributed Generation. In December and January the Illinois commission took comments from utilities, marketers, manufacturers, and trade and advocacy groups on how to develop policy on distributed generation.
* Rulemaking Strategy. Enron has urged the state to proceed in a fashion similar to the California PUC's
two-track investigation. It asked for two separate rulemakings on (1) interconnection standards for DG installations of 50 megawatts or less, and (2) rate design and operational issues.
* Unit Size Limits.
A century gone by and we're still no closer to real choice in electricity.
The magazine being what it is, this column usually goes to press at least three weeks ahead of the cover date. Ordinarily I try to anticipate some upcoming event before the fact.
With this issue, however, the job gets tougher. It's more than a new year. In the popular view it's a new century. (But mathematicians know the Millennium begins in 2001.)
Did the electric grid crash on Jan. 1? Did the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announce its new rule on regional transmission organizations on Dec.
State regulators turn to telecom to salvage the clout they've lost in energy.
State public utility commissions now seem to spend more time on telecommunications than electricity or natural gas. That's their new power base. The telephone local loop marks the one place where state regulators still have clout.
To test that notion, let's see who attended last month's annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, held in San Antonio. By my count, out of the first 500 registered attendees, over 120 (24 percent) came from telecommunications firms.
Subsidiaries grapple with codes of conduct. Did regulators overreact?
PG&E Corp. has threatened to appeal - all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if need be - a $1.68 million California Public Utilities Commission fine, slapped on it for violating affiliate rules.
The fine marked the loudest shot to date in what appears to be part two in the electric and gas restructuring wars:
The Affiliate Rules Wars.
These skirmishes promise to pit independent power marketers and out-of-state utility affiliates against the affiliates of incumbents.
The FERC's latest idea throws pipelines for a loop, with implications for power markets, too.
Transmission and distribution (em the business they call "pipes and wires" (em can't last much longer with rates set by cost of service. Contrary to the myth, these services deserve no special status due to their high embedded costs. They carry no intrinsic value apart from the electrons and molecules they deliver.
THE SEPT. 1, 1998 ISSUE OF Public Utilities Fortnightly contained an article, "The Fortnightly 100," which promised to reveal America's "most efficient utilities." The authors used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to analyze historical operating and financial data for 140 utility holding companies. While DEA can be a useful tool for data analysis, used indiscriminately it can lead to misleading conclusions.