Commission Watch

While electric restructuring pauses, telecom pushes forward.

State PUCs Show Split Personality



While electric restructuring pauses, telecom pushes forward.

No matter which way they turn, state public utility commissions (PUCs) have their work cut out for them.

While federal policy-makers push ahead with wholesale market reforms in the electricity sector, many at the state level now call for a cautious approach to protect consumers.

Energy Trading: Down But Not Out

The speculative electricity trading industry has a bad case of rigor mortis, but current efforts might breathe new life into the practice.

Trading is dead. At least that’s what some analysts are saying about the electricity markets. “Trading died with Enron on Dec. 2, 2001,” says Mark Williams, an energy risk management expert at Boston University. Whether trading is really dead or not, some signs of a rebirth are beginning to emerge.


As Latin America swoons, the electricity sector holds on tight.

Fighting to Privatize

As Latin America swoons, the electricity sector holds on tight.

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) World Economic Outlook September 2002 gives a fragile outlook in the short-term for Latin America. In 2002, regional output contracted by 2.5 percent in the first quarter (compared with the final quarter of 2001) and is expected to fall in 2002 as a whole, according to the IMF.

Power Prices Today: Growing More Unpredictable

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.

Jeff Skilling resigned from Enron over a year ago-after power prices in markets serving California had fallen 90 percent in three months.

But in July, Bank of America won approval from the Treasury Department to offer cash-settled electricity derivatives-with a former Enron regional director at the head of the desk.

So what has changed, and what hasn't?

A Vision for Trasmission: How the RTOs Stand

And where the trouble spots lie in FERC's grid plan.

And where the trouble spots lie in FERC's grid plan.

The mood appeared calm on June 26 in Washington, D.C., at the regular bi-weekly meeting of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Key officials from various regional transmission organizations (RTOs) had gathered before chairman Pat Wood and the other commissioners to brief them on progress over the past year in reforming wholesale electric markets, and on what the FERC might expect in the summer at hand.

Collateral Damage

Credit ratings agencies put the squeeze on merchant power.

Have they gone too far? Have ratings agencies become overzealous in their efforts to rein in energy merchants? Many in the industry are coming to that belief after Aquila, one of the industry's most respected companies and leaders, announced it would exit the merchant energy trading sector in late July. It said it could no longer meet the credit requirements imposed by ratings agencies to maintain that business.

The Top 10

The Ten Most Intriguing Business Decisions in the Post-Enron World.

10. Exelon throws in the towel on pebble bed; 9. Exelon, Entergy, Dominion ready to do the rounds on traditional nuclear; 8. AES wants out of Cilcorp marriage; 7. New-look Aquila goes hunting ...

Utility Valuation: Shedding Light on the Black Box

Experts debate how energy companies should be valued in the wake of electric restructuring and Enron.

Credit downgrades, bankruptcy, and investor backlash against energy companies has exposed how inadequate the valuation of energy companies is. Experts debate just how to value the industry.

Gas Marketers: Oblivious to All the Fuss

New mega-marketers, niche players emphasize opportunity.

Even when the calendar flipped to 2001 and much of the energy industry was swept into the turmoil surrounding the California electric industry restructuring fiasco, gas marketers continued to thrive in the low-supply, high-demand environment.