COMPETITION, CONVERGENCE ... AND CASHFLOW? THE POWER BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS
APRIL 01, 1996
Nearly every major rate case over the past several years focuses some attention on removing subsidies running between rate classes.
The competitive transformations of the natural gas and telecommunications industries are over a decade in the making. By contrast, competition in the electricity industry is still emerging. Special interests have defeated many proposed competitive reforms. For example, in 1988 the FERC failed in its attempt to adopt regulations to encourage competitive bidding and independent power producers (IPPs).1 Similarly, decades of forceful industry opposition delayed open access in bulk-power markets.
In its recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on wholesale competition and open-access transmission,1 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has outlined a plan to revolutionize the electricity industry.
Our 13th annual electric rate-case survey covers electric rate orders issued between
April 1, 1994, and March 31, 1995.
The survey tabulates rates of return on common equity (ROE) approved by state public utility commissions (PUCs) in major electric rate orders, but also includes some cases in which rate of return was not directly at issue, or where a rate adjustment resulted from a settlement agreement.
A TRANSFORMING EVENT
Retail sales of gas and electricity run about $300 billion a year. The deregulation of energy production, wholesale logistics, and bulk consumption has brought competition to about 40 to 45 percent of the value chain from wellhead and busbar to the retail meter.