PJM Ventures Thoughtfully into Vexatious World of Capacity Markets

The role of an electricity capacity market has been described as inducing the right amount of investment of the right type in the right locations. (Cramton/Stoft 2005). Following the contentious introduction (or proposed introduction) of capacity markets in New York and New England, the PJM Interconnection unveiled in a September 1 submission to FERC its reliability pricing model (RPM) for getting a capacity market "just right" in the Mid-Atlantic. PJM's filing with FERC came not quite a month after Congress instructed FERC to proceed cautiously with ISO New England's comparable proposal for...

Northeast LNG Projects Navigate between Scylla and Charybdis

Both the Weaver's Cove Fall River, Massachusetts project and the now-three LNG projects proposed for Maine's Passamaquoddy Bay continue to battle local and regional opposition. Recently, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission took delivery of two commissioned reports that predicted that the Weaver's Cove LNG project would cause major traffic backups and hurt Rhode Island's marine and tourism economies. Weaver's Cove has stated that the reports were based on flawed assumptions. Weaver's Cove earlier this month also saw Mass. Governor Mitch Romney notify FERC of changed conditions surrounding...

South Carolina Regulator Considering Competitive Procurement of Power

The South Carolina Public Service Commission ("SCPSC") is considering whether utility procurement rules should be changed in the state to require a competitive RFP-based solicitation process. This inquiry grows out of a recent SCPSC decision granting local electric and gas distributor SCE&G a rate increase. The SCPSC appears reluctant to embrace competitive procurement. This is evident from the order granting SCE&G a rate increase. Even thought the Commission undertook the RFP inquiry, it also faulted the RFP concept, affirming its earlier rejection of challenges to a utility's self-...

Incentives to Sell Are Needed More than Improved Metrics, Says FTC

Reprising a message it has voiced for nearly decade, a frustrated Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lectured FERC that standardizing the measurement of available transmission capacity (ATC), as FERC proposes, is fine, but unlikely to eradicate the real problem of transmitting utilities denying available transmission capacity for use by power sellers with whom they compete. "Behavioral rules, such as rules governing calculation of ATC," instructed the competition watchdog FTC, will not effectively address transmission discrimination unless accompanied by solutions that deprive transmitting...

Reliability v. Health: Neighboring States Battle over Dirty but Needed Generator

A cross-Potomac skirmish over the competing principles of energy reliability and public health has broken out over the fate of Mirant Potomac River's 482-MW, coal-fired power plant in Alexandria, Virginia. The District of Columbia Public Service Commission's ("DCPSC") petition to FERC and the Department of Energy ("DOE") to prevent Mirant from shutting down both provoked urgent protests and drew support from regional stakeholders. Prompting the DCPSC's petition was Mirant's announcement that, because of a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality ("VDEQ") directive to remedy air quality...

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