Tennessee Valley Authority
How state opposition cowed the feds and turned a powerful rule into just a set of talking points.
A funny thing happened on the way to a standard market design (SMD). What began as a full-fledged rulemaking-with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) giving instructions and imposing deadlines on the electric utility industry-now has degenerated into little more than a set of talking points.
Talk about cold feet.
By Lori A. Burkhart
Gas-fired power is king today, but fuel diversity needs and new technologies may open the door for nuclear and coal.
The nation's demand for electricity is expected to grow by over 40 percent in the next 20 years, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Meeting that need will require a great number of new generating plants. The burning question is, what will fuel these new plants?
Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).
Mergers & Acquisitions
Joint Ventures. The Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, issued draft antitrust guidelines for "collaborations among competitors" that will apply to a wide range of joint ventures and strategic alliances other than actual mergers.
Such collaborations would include R&D efforts, information sharing and joint efforts in marketing, distribution, sales or purchasing, plus various types of trade association activities. File No. 971201, Oct. 1, 1999 (F.T.C.), published at 64 Fed. Reg.
The post-mortems on last summer's price spikes in the Midwest are in. At least three studies of the event diverge in their conclusions:
First, on Sept. 24 of last year, the staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found the root cause of the spikes in extreme weather and unexpected outages. It observed no direct evidence of market manipulation and concluded that the events were unlikely to recur.