Blog: General

February 2012

In a state where rate levels have made headlines, a reporter asked me, "Since the commission is independent, what can the governor do?"  My answer was, "Plenty." 

The consumer's concern is not about rates, but about the monthly bill.  A governor can lead:

February 2012

One of my law students completed a research paper showing that most state renewable portfolio statutes contain provisions favoring in-state sources to the disadvantage of out-of-state sources.  Some advocates of this approach—and of renewable energy—defend this discrimination on the grounds of necessity:  Bringing jobs and economic development to the state softens opposition to the price increases that will result.  Getting a bill passed is worth violating the U.S. Constitution.

January 2012

[A colleague from another nation, advising a client in yet another nation, asked me a series of questions about pre-approvals of major capital expenditures.]

Dear Scott,

December 2011

A general description of the prudent resource planning process for vertically-integrated electric utilities.

by Nancy Brockway, Principal, NBrockway & Associates

Electric utilities have an obligation to serve the public.  This obligation is generally understood to include the obligation to forecast the electricity needs of the customers in their service area, and plan to obtain sufficient resources to meet those needs.

December 2011

Transmission upgrades are getting a lot of attention.  Congress mandated "incentives" and gave FERC preemptive authority for siting.  The U.S. DOE is allocating millions for inter-regional studies.  FERC is allowing high generation prices to attract more transmission.  Regional transmission organizations, new generation entrants, utilities, and non-utilities are all pressing for multi-state plans to get power moving.

November 2011

A reporter called me about electricity outages in an eastern state.  The utility blamed trees:  The width of the easements was less than the height of the trees, so that when trees fell they fell on the wires.  Nothing they could do.  They even gave him a tour of the easements.

It sounded like a tour of excuses.