For Public Utilities Fortnightly's 75th Anniversary CEO issue, the magazine looked to the horizon and asked these new captains about the planned course for their companies, and for an entire industry.
Two-part real-time pricing reflects the two-part pricing found in other business sectors.
Georgia Power Co., Duke Power Co., and their customers have reaped the benefits of two-part real-time pricing (RTP) for nearly 10 years. This structure has been a perfectly acceptable and efficient means to price electricity, but a second structure for pricing electricity can now be introduced. Either structure is sound and efficacious. Each methodology has its advantages, and utilities should consider which method best serves their needs.
Smaller systems aren't cost-effective.
It's time for a reality check on the commercial viability of wind farms. Are large wind systems more economical than small wind systems?
Greater reliance on gas-fired power implies serious economic, technological, and national security risks.
Over the past two decades, the United States has, by default, come to rely on an "In Gas We Trust" energy policy. Natural gas increasingly has been seen as the preferred fuel for all applications, nowhere more than in the electric generation sector. However, the greatly increased use of natural gas forecast for the electricity sector may not be economically or technically feasible, and it does not represent optimal or desired energy policy.
A digital grid to the home, secured via a local fiber-optic network, could position utilities to fix power and telecom together.
Before billions are spent building new transmission lines to ensure reliable electric service, North American electric utilities should evaluate whether the alternatives-controlling demand and fostering distributed generation-might be more cost-effective and broadly beneficial.
A Risky Business Utilities wrestle with how much to charge for their product.
The trading model has many good points, including the imposition of market discipline upon both transfer prices and prices to external third parties. Trading also encourages the use of resources and capital at their market value and the cultivation of specialized skills within different business units. But applying the model, particularly to the risks of power pricing, continues to be a challenge.
Utilities are finding strategic benefits in demand-based metering technologies.
It's been years since utilities regarded customers as mere check-writing extensions of their meters. In fact, utilities' information technology focus during the past decade has centered on gaining greater control over customer information. The objective: Focus on-and fill-customer needs. The results are everywhere:
What made BG&E's system more reliable than Pepco's?
Reliability and customer information systems (CIS) are rarely mentioned in the same breath. After all, utilities spend millions on their outage management systems to help ensure reliability. But in the wake of Hurricane Isabel last fall, the CIS at Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E) gets kudos for helping the utility keep on top of a widespread outage.
How will the EPA's rulemaking affect U.S. energy markets?
With President Bush's Clear Skies program stalled in Congress, it is increasingly unlikely that a multi-pollutant regulatory package will receive congressional approval in the near future. In addition to providing another source of frustration for the Bush administration, the delay also forces the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose regulations controlling mercury emissions.
Experts say utilities are pushing transmission systems to unsafe limits.
When transmission-line rating assumptions do not match the physical realities of transmission networks, the consequences can be disastrous.