Reliable But Costly

Recent trends in distribution line undergrounding.

Utility distribution lines increasingly are going underground, but costs are still prohibitive for replacing existing overhead lines.


ISO New England approves Northern Pass transmission project; Southern California Edison selects Quanta PAR to build Tehachapi transmission line segments; Pennsylvania PUC approves PPL $335 million grid project; Southern Company completes smart grid investments; U.S. Army Reserve contracts ConEdison Solutions for efficiency and maintenance support services; plus announcements and contracts involving Honeywell, Stor Generation, Salt River Project, Landis+Gyr, Abengoa, Constellation, and others.

South Carolina PSC Puts Pension Costs in Rider

In an electric rate proceeding, the South Carolina Public Service Commission accepted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) under which South Carolina Electric & Gas was awarded a net increase in electric rates of $97 million and a ROE of 10.25 percent. The lower ROE value negotiated in the MOU also had a substantial impact on the utility’s authorized revenue requirement, reducing its rate request by a significant amount.

Vendor Neutral

(June 2012) South Carolina Electric & Gas gave Shaw Group and Westinghouse full notice to proceed on their contract for two new Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power units and related facilities at the V.C. Summer nuclear station near Jenkinsville, S.C. Progress Energy awarded a contract to Westinghouse for underwater laser beam welding (ULBW) at the Robinson nuclear plant in Hartsville, S.C. Southern California Edison (SCE) completed additional inspections of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) Unit 2 steam generators, based on Unit 3 findings. And others...

The Wires Charge: Risk and Rates for the Regulated Distributor

Open-access tariffs hold the key to capturing the gains promised by electric restructuring.

In a restructured electric industry, unbundling the cost of the wires from power generation may well prove more important than dealing with stranded costs. In fact, stranded costs eventually will take care of themselves, whether by direct recovery, indirect recovery or no recovery. Without proper unbundling, however, a restructured industry could force competitors to pay inflated access fees to the distribution utility.

The matter has drawn a lot of attention.

Automated Meter Reading: Two Companies, Two Strategies

Automated Meter Reading:

Two Companies,

Two StrategiesThe question is whether to own or lease,

but each route offers its own advantages.

With deregulation nipping at their heels, utilities are looking for ways to gain and maintain

customers. Aggressive utilities are seeking new customers outside of their service territories and offering competitive prices, new products, and new services.


The U.S. Department of Energy will make $15 million in grants available to those willing to buy early versions of market-ready fuel cells. DOE will provide $1,000 per kilowatt, or up to a third of costs. Assistance will target buyers that want to purchase between 100 and 3,000 kilowatts. The first round of awards will be made by September 30. The application package is available on the Internet at http:/ solicita.html. A diskette version (WordPerfect 5.2) may be requested by fax: (304) 285-4683, attn: R. Diane Manilla, M.S.

The Efficient Utility: Labor, Capital, and Profit

Are utilities working at top productive capacity? A novel look at 19 investor-owned electrics in the Sun Belt.

Major restructuring is expected to hit investor-owned utilities (IOUs) over the next decade. Competitive market forces, in place of rate-of-return regulation, will require many companies to evaluate their resource allocations. No longer will singular adjustments in resource use suffice when both capital and labor resources must be realigned.