APPA and other load-side interests have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rehear its April 12 order approving changes to PJM’s minimum offer price rule for its "Reliability Pricing Model" locational capacity market. In a May 12 filing, the coalition (the PJM Load Group) urged FERC to reinstate the requirement that self-supply be committed in the RPM auctions regardless of price, subject only to verification that the self-supply resource will be available.
The commission needs "to correct on rehearing a step that has taken the PJM market over a precipice that fundamentally changes the nature of the electric industry in the United States," the load group said. "If the commission does not step back from the precipice and grant rehearing, it will have branded traditional vertically-integrated utilities with an obligation to serve as inherently suspect and declared both the regulatory compact and bilateral market revenues to be unlawful subsidies."
The April 12 order "forced fundamental and momentous changes to the design of the PJM capacity construct that will at least hinder and most likely will prevent [load-serving entities] from meeting their obligation to reliably and cost-effectively serve load," APPA and the others said. "By eliminating the assurance that self-supply from new resources must be accepted in the RPM auction regardless of price, the April 12 order could result in unjust and unreasonable rates for capacity," they said.
Customers "will pay once for the cost of legitimate investments made by utilities to meet their load capacity obligations, then again for the cost of RPM-procured and RPM-priced capacity that utilities will be required to purchase as a replacement for new self-supply resources that are rejected from clearing in the RPM auction," the load group said.
The risk of a new plant not clearing the RPM auction creates an uncertainty that will adversely affect financing of new self-supply resources, which will lead to reduced competition from self-supply in constrained areas where it is needed most, the load group said. As a result of the increased reliance on RPM and discouragement of long-term arrangements, there will be increased risk of reliability and price volatility, they said.
The April 12 order unreasonably changed the minimum offer price rule from a mechanism to address the exercise of buyer market power to a mechanism to second-guess and reject LSEs' long-term investment decisions to serve their load, APPA and the others said. RPM was developed through a settlement, and was designed as a residual mechanism that ensured self-supply offers would clear the auction, they said. The minimum offer price rule ensured only that offers designed to artificially depress prices would be mitigated, they said.
The other members of the PJM Load Group are American Municipal Power, Inc.; ArcelorMittal USA, LLC; Blue Ridge Power Agency; the Borough of Chambersburg, Pa.; Delaware Municipal Electric Corp.; Duquesne Light Co.; Electricity Consumers Resource Council; the Maryland Office of People’s Counsel; North Carolina Electric Membership Corp.; Old Dominion Electric Cooperative; Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate; the PJM Industrial Customer Coalition; and the Public Power Association of New Jersey. —ROBERT VARELA
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The Obama administration unveiled its proposed cyber security legislation May 12. The administration took a largely voluntary approach to critical infrastructure cyber security, saying its proposal "emphasizes transparency to help market forces ensure that critical-infrastructure operators are accountable for their cyber security."
The administration proposal would require the Department of Homeland Security to work with industry to identify the core critical infrastructure operators and to prioritize the most important cyber threats and vulnerabilities for those operators. Critical infrastructure operators would develop their own frameworks for addressing cyber threats. Then, each critical infrastructure operator would have a third-party, commercial auditor assess its cyber security risk mitigation plans. Operators who are already required to report to the Security and Exchange Commission would also have to certify that their plans are sufficient. A summary of each plan "would be accessible, in order to facilitate transparency and to ensure that the plan is adequate," the administration said in a fact sheet.
In the event that the process fails to produce strong frameworks, DHS, working with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, could modify a framework. DHS also could work with firms to help them shore up plans that are deemed insufficient by commercial auditors, the administration said. —ROBERT VARELA
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Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are
asking the Obama administration for more information on the development
and impact of a series of recent and pending Environmental Protection
Agency rules affecting the electric power sector. "The committee is
concerned that the Obama EPA has been regulating too much too fast,
without fully analyzing the feasibility and economic impacts of its new
rules," the House panel said.
Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Energy and Power Subcommittee
Chairman Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Oversight and Investigations
Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., sent letters
May 9 to the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission, and Department of Energy posing detailed questions about
the EPA rules. They asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson if the agency
has analyzed "the effect of this coordinated power sector effort on
jobs, the economy, or the competitiveness of U.S. industry." They also
asked about EPA consultation with other agencies and groups.
The letter to FERC and DOE requested information on any consultation or
information-sharing with EPA and also queried them on their authority
to ensure reliability by waiving environmental regulations or directing
utilities to continue operating. —ROBERT VARELA
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Public power utilities once again scored well in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s "Top 10" rankings
of utility green power programs for 2010. Ranked by renewable energy
sales (kWh/year), Austin Energy in Texas sold the largest amount of
renewable energy in the nation (including investor-owned utilities),
while the Sacramento Municipal Utility District was fourth and CPS
Energy in San Antonio was eighth. SMUD was the only public power
utility to crack the top 10 in total number of customer participants in
green power programs.
Palo Alto, Calif., Utilities rated first nationwide in percentage of
customer participation. Other public power utilities in the top 10 in
this category were SMUD; Naperville, Ill.; Silicon Valley Power,
serving Santa Clara, Calif.; River Falls, Wis., Municipal Utilities;
and Lake Mills, Wis., Light & Water.
Waterloo, Wis., Utilities was first by a wide margin in green power
sales as a percentage of total retail electricity sales, followed by
Edmond, Okla., Electric. Also scoring in the top 10 were Palo Alto,
River Falls, Austin and SMUD.
Ranked by lowest price premium charged for new, residential
customer-driven renewable power, Edmond Electric was second nationwide.
Onawa, Iowa; Moorhead, Minn., Public Service; SMUD; and Emerald
People’s Utility District in Oregon also were among the 10 lowest in
price premium charged. —ROBERT VARELA
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Far too few baseload power plants are being built to allow timely replacement of aging nuclear and coal plants when they are ready to be retired, according to a new report. "Baseload power plants produce about 80% of the nation’s electricity so it is particularly alarming how few baseload plants are under construction or have been completed recently," said Build Energy America, a not-for-profit research group. "At this rate, the aging baseload fleet will not be completely replaced with modern nuclear, coal and natural gas combined-cycle plants for 70 years or longer."
No baseload plants are under construction or have been completed since 2009 in most of New England, the mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest, said the report, "States’ Best Practices Attracting Baseload Investment."
"Some relish that U.S. electricity supply could become less baseload and more non-baseload," the study said. "They would consign the country to a supply mix that is more expensive and less controllable and reliable."
Only 44 baseload plants are currently under construction in the continental United States, the report said. If all 44 are completed, which is hardly certain, they would add no more than 24,000 MW of capacity. Regulated utilities are currently constructing only 17 baseload plants that will bring on-line only around 12,000 megawatts of capacity, the study said. The National Energy Technology Laboratory "sees a virtual shutdown in coal construction in the next two years with very few projects under construction (12 projects, 7,600 MW), near construction (one project, 300 MW), or even in the permitting stage (eight projects, 6,400 MW)."
"To put into perspective how sluggish this level of construction is, total continental U.S. baseload generating capacity is presently about 650,000 megawatts," the report said. "This rate of modernizing the baseload fleet is actually more alarming when other factors are taken into account like demand growth for power, expiring licenses of the oldest nuclear plants and air emissions of the oldest coal plants."
Texas and North Carolina alone account for one-quarter of all the new baseload capacity. Aside from Texas and North Carolina, baseload construction activity is vibrant in several southeastern states including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Six other states attracting baseload investment are Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Nebraska and Tennessee "are primarily public power states," the report said. "Healthy baseload construction in those two states has been based on the credit strength of government entities."
Regional transmission organizations "can be another increasingly insurmountable barrier to baseload proposals," the study said. Through its market design and FERC-approved tariff, an RTO can bias a region of states away from building baseload and towards favored resources such as demand response. "Can a power plant developer finance a coal plant or even a less capital-intensive natural gas combined cycle plant based solely on market capacity and energy prices? The revealed answer is no; virtually no baseload plants are under construction or have been recently completed on a market basis," the study said. "One potential answer is long-term contracting between utilities and developers for the output of a baseload plant to be built, pre-approved by regulators."
Wholesale market purists that favor increasing the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and regional transmission organizations "will protest such long-term contracts as market interventions that corrupt the free market," the report said. "Notwithstanding these expected criticisms, states certainly have it within their rights to once again deploy their utilities and utility regulation to jump-start needed baseload construction. The value of long-term contracts is especially evident to support the most capital-intensive baseload proposals such as nuclear and advanced coal projects."
The allowance of construction work in progress costs in rate base can be decisive for a state to attract baseload investment by regulated utilities, the study said.
"It was astonishing how pathetic the nation has become in modernizing the vital baseload fleet outside of a few states like Texas and North Carolina," Build Energy America President Steve Mitnick said. "This should be a wake-up call, especially for the many states that are treating baseload as if it’s passé." —ROBERT VARELA
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by Duke University researchers has found high levels of leaked methane
in well water collected near shale-gas drilling and hydraulic
fracturing sites. "At least some of the homeowners who claim that their
wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right,"
said Professor Robert B. Jackson, director of Duke’s Center on Global
The scientists collected and analyzed water samples from 68 private
groundwater wells across five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and
The study found no evidence of contamination from chemical-laden
fracking fluids, which are injected into gas wells to help break up
shale deposits, or from "produced water"—wastewater that is extracted
back out of the wells after the shale has been fractured.
The study found measurable amounts of methane in 85% of the samples,
but levels were 17 times higher on average in wells located within a
kilometer of active fracking sites. The contamination was observed
primarily in Bradford and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania. Water
wells farther from the gas wells contained lower levels of methane and
had a different isotopic fingerprint, the researchers said.
The scientists confirmed their finding by comparing the dissolved gas
chemistry of water samples to the gas chemistry profiles of shale-gas
wells in the region, using data from the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection. "Deep gas has a distinctive chemical
signature in its isotopes," Jackson said. "When we compared the
dissolved gas chemistry in well water to methane from local gas wells,
the signatures matched."
Methane is flammable and poses a risk of explosion. In very high
concentrations, it can cause asphyxiation. Little research has been
conducted on the health effects of drinking methane-contaminated water
and methane isn’t regulated as a contaminant in public water systems
under the EPA’s National Primary Drinking Water Regulations, the
The Duke team collected samples from counties overlying the Marcellus
shale formation. Accelerated gas drilling and fracking in the region in
recent years has fueled concerns about well-water contamination by
methane, produced water and fracking fluids, which contain a
proprietary mix of chemicals that companies often don’t disclose, the
Shale gas comprises about 15% of natural gas produced in the United
States today. The Energy Information Administration estimates it will
make up almost half of the nation’s production by 2035.
The peer-reviewed study was funded by the Nicholas School and Duke’s
Center on Global Change and appears this week in the online early
edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a separate white paper
Jackson and colleagues at the Center for Global Change, the Nicholas
School and Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
offered recommendations for monitoring and addressing potential
environmental and human health risks. The United States should consider
regulating hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act and
should require full disclosure of the chemicals used in fracking, they
said. —ROBERT VARELA
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The Surface Transportation Board should approve a proposal it
issued earlier this year to cap the fee it charges utilities and others
to file complaints with the agency over railroad shippers' fees, APPA
said last month. In some cases, utilities and others who wanted to
challenge a shipping rate in a case before the STB have had to pay a
filing fee of $20,600. In February, the STB proposed a new rule that
would cap the fee for filing such a complaint at $350.
"Charging a small business more than $20,000 to bring a complaint is not
right," STB Chairman Daniel Elliott said at the time. "I am afraid that
some meritorious cases were discouraged by the high filing fees."
Most of the shippers who complain about excessive rates in coal rate
cases are electric utilities, and many are not-for-profit utilities,
said APPA in joint comments to the STB that also were signed by the
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the Western Coal
Traffic League. "The utilities' customers ultimately pay for excessive
rates as part of their monthly electric bills," they said in the April
In 1996, the STB decided to charge $232,200 for cases filed
under its Coal Rate Guidelines, and to charge $23,100 for other formal
complaints. The agency said the fees were necessary so the board could
cover its full cost of processing the cases, but many protested the
decision. For example, as APPA notes in its comments, Sen. Kent Conrad
said the STB fees "indicate that sometimes people completely take leave
of their senses here in Washington when they have responsibility over an
administrative function. If there was ever an example of an agency
going off a cliff with respect to a proposal, these fees by the Surface
Transportation Board are a perfect example."
The Consumers United for Rail Equity coalition, of which APPA is a
member, also filed comments on April 19 urging the STB to approve the
rule capping the filing fees at $350. High fees for filing a complaint
do discourage complaints, CURE said. For example, in 2009 a member of
the CURE coalition filed an informal complaint with the STB, challenging
a railroad's action in placing a lock on a rail switch to keep another
railroad from having access to the shipper's spur into its plant. "The
railroad that placed the lock on the switch promptly removed it after
inquiries from the [STB], but we are quite certain that the shipper in
question would not have spent $20,600 plus legal fees to pursue the
matter formally," CURE said.
STB Chairman Elliott said in February that while the new fee structure
will make it easier to file formal cases, he hopes that shippers would
use the agency's free informal mediation service, called the Rail
Customer and Public Assistance Program. The STB also offers a formal
mediation program, he noted. —JEANNINE ANDERSON
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Senate Republicans shuffled some committee assignments in response to the resignation of Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and his replacement by Dean Heller. Heller was given a spot on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that opened when Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., gave up his energy committee seat to take Ensign’s seat on the Finance Committee. Heller also will join the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was given a slot on the Budget Committee, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is moving to the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
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Standard & Poor's is monitoring the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s
response to the nuclear crisis in Japan and later this summer will
assess the implication for public power utilities that have a
significant stake in nuclear power. "While it seems to us that the
disaster in Japan has put new pressure on the operators of nuclear
power plants, it is far from certain how the concerns prompted by the
unfolding situation there will play out," S&P said in a new report,
"What The Fallout From Japan's Nuclear Failure Might Mean For U.S.
Public Power and Cooperative Utilities."
Pending the results of expedited NRC inspections and the resolution of
outstanding licensing and relicensing requests, S&P said it doesn’t
anticipate taking actions on electric utilities' ratings
specifically because of their nuclear operations. The NRC is expected
to finish its initial reviews sometime this summer. Then,
S&P "will assess the implications for not-for-profit utilities that
have a significant stake in nuclear power," the credit rating company said.
A licensing delay for planned plants or an interruption of service
would likely lead to increased costs and a scramble to tap alternate
energy sources, S&P said. If these alternatives add
significant costs, they could have negative implications for credit
quality, according to S&P’s report.
"Currently all of the public power and cooperative issuers with stakes
in nuclear power are investment grade companies," the report said.
"They will likely remain so until we see whether the NRC issues any
mandates that have material implications for the cost, operations, or
relicensing of nuclear plants." S&P said utilities that use nuclear
power as "part of a well-diversified mix of generation resources" have "only moderate exposure to new regulatory mandates." —ROBERT VARELA
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Residents of Omaha, Neb., are checking out ways to save electricity and
money by checking out Watt Detector kits at the Omaha Public Library,
thanks to the Omaha Public Power District. In the program's first two
months, Watt Detector kits have been checked out 183 times, the utility
said. The kit contains a meter that measures how much electricity
appliances use even when they are turned off. OPPD supplied the kits as
part of its program to educate customers on using energy more
"We appreciate this partnership with the Omaha Public Library," said
OPPD President and CEO W. Gary Gates. "This kit is a great tool to help
our customers understand where they use the most energy. Armed with that
knowledge, they can then manage their energy usage better. And now that
we've worked out the details of the program, we can make it available
to other libraries in our service territory."
"It made sense for Omaha Public Library to partner with OPPD on this
project," Omaha Public Library Executive Director Gary Wasdin said.
"The library is a convenient place to borrow the Watt Detector and we
hope families will save money with what they learn."
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Seattle City Light’s energy conservation efforts have won a Green Globe Award from King County in Washington state.
King County Executive Dow Constantine presented City Light’s
Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood with the award during an
Earth Day ceremony in Seattle last month.
|Glenn Atwood, City Light's director of conservation resources, right, receives the Green Globe Award from a King County staffer. Photo courtesy of Seattle City Light
"Seattle City Light has been a proven partner with us for many
years in our ongoing efforts to reduce costs, save resources and
improve services to the people we serve," said King County Executive
Dow Constantine, who presented the award to the municipal utility
during a ceremony on Earth Day (April 22). "By working together and
saving energy, we are benefiting our community and our environment
The Green Globe Award is the most prestigious environmental award
presented by King County. The awards are presented every two years to
organizations and community members who are protecting and improving
"Energy conservation helps our customers lower their costs and reduces
our community’s impact on the environment," said Glenn Atwood, director
of conservation resources for City Light.
City Light has supported energy conservation for more than 30 years and
is recognized as a national leader. The utility said it pursues
conservation as its first resource of choice for meeting new customer
energy demands. —JEANNINE ANDERSON
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The Tennessee Valley Authority said May 10 it has fixed a faulty
cooling system valve at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama. TVA
said that it found and reported the problem, repaired and tested
the valve and that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees the plant
is operating safely.
The failure of the valve at Unit 1 of the plant, discovered in October
when the plant was shut down for refueling, was "of high safety
significance," the NRC said.
It was the most serious safety citation issued by the NRC in eight years, reported The Energy Daily
The valve is part of a residual heat removal system that helps keep
reactors cooled during routine operations and in the event of a fire or
other emergency. On Oct. 23, 2010, the valve failed to open when
operators tried to use the residual heat removal shutdown cooling loop,
the NRC said. TVA later determined that the last time the valve had
definitely worked as required was in March 2009 when the loop was
placed in service, the commission said.
The NRC issued a "red finding," related to the valve’s performance,
which denotes high safety significance. The valve was stuck, "which
potentially could have led to core damage had an accident involving a
series of unlikely events occurred," the commission said.
The NRC plans to step up its oversight of the Browns Ferry plant as a result of the finding.
"TVA found the problem and fixed it," said TVA Chief Nuclear Officer
Preston Swafford. "A manufacturing defect in the valve stem threads,
which are designed to screw into the valve disc, were determined to be
too small," he said. "We made repairs and reinstalled the valve," which
has worked properly during tests, he said.
Swafford said the NRC indicated on May 10 that the violation would not
affect Browns Ferry’s return to service when repairs are completed to
the area’s tornado-damaged network of power lines, which prompted the
plant to safely shut down early this month. (See Public Power Daily
, May 2.)
The NRC inspection findings are evaluated using a safety significance
scale with four levels, ranging from "green" for minor significance,
through "white" and "yellow" to "red" for high significance.
TVA is "considering our options" in responding to the NRC finding,
Swafford said. The utility had argued that the valve incident deserved
a "green" finding, but NRC staff disagreed. TVA has until June 9 to
appeal the matter to the commission.
TVA said the "red" finding was the culmination of a seven-month process
to determine the safety significance when one of two independent
residual heat removal valves failed to immediately open when placed in
service during the October refueling outage.
"Obviously we’re disappointed with the NRC’s findings on this matter,"
Swafford said. "The safe operation of all our units is our primary
concern, and we take any regulatory report of a violation very
TVA noted that Browns Ferry is currently upgrading its fire protection
program to the NRC-endorsed performance-based standard (NFPA 805).
"We’ve worked hard at Browns Ferry to address a number of fire risk
concerns, and moving to the NFPA 805 requirements will further help us
improve that fire risk margin," Swafford said. In addition, TVA is
upgrading other systems to make the equipment that uses the valves less
critical to the overall ability of the plant to safely shut down in the
event of a fire or other emergency, he said.
TVA shut down all three units at the Browns Ferry plant in 1985. Units
2 and 3 were restarted in 1991 and 1995. Unit 1, which went into
commercial operation in 1974, was shut down in 1975 after a fire broke
out in the reactor. The fire was caused by a candle that an electrician
was using to check for air leaks in insulation around electrical
cables. Unit 1 was restarted in 2007 after having been idle for two
decades. —JEANNINE ANDERSON
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The Board of Public Utilities in Springfield, Mo., announced May 12
that Scott Miller, currently associate general manager for electric
supply for City Utilities of Springfield, will become the municipal
utility's next general manager. The appointment will take effect on
"The board believes that Scott Miller has the best range of skills to
build upon City Utilities' excellent history of operations and to
prepare for our future," said Patrick Platter, chairman of the board.
"We believe the general manager must aggressively plan for the future
needs of the community in areas like smart grid technologies, energy
management, conservation, and telecommunications, among others."
Miller will be the city-owned utility's ninth general manager since it
began operations in 1945. He will succeed John Twitty, who has headed
the utility since 2002. Twitty will retire on June 10.
"John Twitty will leave an impressive record of accomplishments at City
Utilities," Platter said. "He will be missed, but his contributions to
the utility, its customers and the Springfield area will continue to be
felt for years to come."
Miller, who joined City Utilities in 2002, recently led the successful
construction and startup of Southwest Power Station Unit 2, a
300-megawatt coal-fired unit. Before joining City Utilities, he was
director of steam generation for the Dayton Power & Light Co. in
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A spate of recent and pending environmental regulations might be very expensive for the electric companies, but they also could help the industry recover in an oversupplied market, Dow Jones reported May 12. The regulations—dubbed the "train wreck" by utilities—would force companies to close older, inefficient plants, which would reduce supply and drive up the cost of electricity, according to Dow Jones. "This is the golden goose," UBS Investment Research analyst Julien Dumoulin-Smith told the news service. Losses from closing plants would be "more than offset by higher earnings from increases in market prices as a result of industry retirement," said Edward Muller, CEO of GenOn Corp., a merchant power generator. —ROBERT VARELA
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Eighteen national, regional and local lenders will participate in a new
two-year pilot program that will offer qualified borrowers living in
certain parts of the country low-cost loans to make energy-saving
improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing
Administration, the new "PowerSaver" loans will offer homeowners up to
$25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice,
including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement
doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Housing and
Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan made the announcement about the
"We believe the market is right for a low-cost financing option for
families who want energy-saving technologies in their home," said
Donovan. "PowerSaver hits on all cylinders by helping credit-worthy
homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the
local job market in the process. While FHA and these lenders are
jump-starting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing
private sector interest in making these types of loans."
"Today, we are breaking down barriers and making energy efficiency more accessible and more affordable," said Chu. —J.A.
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The Alabama Municipal Electric Authority honored its 11 members for 30
years of partnership and support during the joint action agency’s 30th
anniversary dinner, in Montgomery, Ala., on April 14.
AMEA recognized members during the program with special awards and
honored the founding leaders and partners who were instrumental in the
formation of the organization.
APPA President and CEO Mark Crisson spoke at the dinner, congratulating
AMEA for its three decades of service to its members and to public
power. During the program, AMEA was presented with a joint resolution
by the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama Senate
commemorating the occasion.
"Because of the vision, leadership and support of our members
throughout the past 30 years, AMEA has become a valued partner in
Alabama’s electric utility community," said AMEA President and CEO Fred
Clark. The agency's members "are committed more than ever to joint
action, as they are benefiting from AMEA’s power supply initiatives,
resources, and selected value-added programs and services," Clark said.
AMEA, located in Montgomery, provides wholesale power to 11 public
power utilities in Alabama. Those utilities serve some 350,000
customers in the cities of Alexander City, Dothan, Fairhope, Foley,
LaFayette, Lanett, Luverne, Opelika, Piedmont, Sylacauga, and Tuskegee.
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American Municipal Power Inc., based
in Columbus, Ohio, has issued a request for proposals seeking a
contractor to provide evaluation, measurement and verification services
starting on July 1.
The contractor will evaluate AMP's Efficiency Smart program. Proposals are due May 23. The RFP is posted on AMP's website
under the heading "Energy Efficiency Program Request for Proposals." —J.A.
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Several deadlines are quickly approaching for anyone attending the APPA National Conference
, June 17-22 in Washington, D.C.
The early registration deadline for the conference is May 27. Attendees
who register before that date will save $50 on their conference
The deadline to make hotel reservations in the APPA room block at the
Washington Marriott Wardman Park is May 17. The room block may sell out
before this cutoff date, so early reservations are encouraged. If you
need help with your hotel reservations, call 202/467-2938 or email the APPA Meetings Department
The deadline for conference attendees to volunteer for the Public Power
Day of Giving is Monday, May 16. The Day of Giving is an opportunity
for conference attendees to participate in community service projects
across the greater Washington region with their fellow conference
participants. The Day of Giving will be held Friday, June 17.
Space is also filling up quickly for the 11 preconference seminars that
will be offered on Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, so attendees
are encouraged to register for preconference seminars now to reserve
their space. Preconference seminars are designed for utility managers,
board members and policymakers, and include topics such as:
• NERC Compliance: An Insider’s Look at Being Prepared for a NERC Audit
• Industry Rate Trends and Future Rate Structures
• Protect Your Customers’ Confidence in Today’s Digital World
• Coping with Financial Challenges in Periods of Declining Sales
• Educating the Public About Demand Response
• Developing Your Most Effective Leadership Style
• New Environmental Regulations and the Implications for the Electric Power Sector
• Developing the Appropriate Smart Grid Business Model for Your Community
• Utility Industry Overview for Policymakers and Managers
• Board and Utility Staff Relations: Synergy and Success
• Overview of Utility Financial Operations for Boards
The National Conference is APPA's premier annual event, designed
for utility executives, directors and managers; utility policymakers,
including elected and appointed board members, mayors, and city council
members; and industry partners, including suppliers, vendors and
For complete conference program and registration information, visit www.publicpower.org/NationalConference
. —LEANNE NIENHUIS
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On Tuesday, May 17, APPA will hold a webinar, "Rate Making for Utility
Boards and City Councils," from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern time. The
webinar is intended to help management and boards understand their
utility’s cost structure and use the information to ensure customer
rates are structured correctly.
The instructor, Mark Beauchamp, president of Utility Financial
Solutions, will take participants through the information provided by a
traditional cost-of-service study and discuss how the information can
be used to design customer rates. Other topics will include:
- Understanding cost-of-service studies and the information provided to management and boards;
- How marginal cost analysis can supplement traditional studies when developing electric rates;
- Using cost-of-service study data to design rates and minimize customer impacts;
- Understanding why rates vary by type of customer; and
- Determining what type of cost the rate components (facilities charge, energy, demand) are designed to recover.
This is the sixth in a series of eight monthly webinars designed
to educate elected and appointed public power board and city council
members on the responsibilities and processes of electric utility
governance and policy-setting. Upcoming webinars will cover the board’s
role in strategic planning and performance monitoring and
accountability for boards.
This webinar is worth 1.5 CPE credits, 0.2
continuing education credits and 1.5 professional development hours.
For more information and to register, go to www.APPAAcademy.org
and click on Webinar Series, or contact Heidi Lambert at 202/467-2921 or HLambert@PublicPower.org
. —HEIDI LAMBERT
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Chief executive officer—San
Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, Monte Vista, Colo. San Luis
Valley Rural Electric Cooperative, through its executive search
consultant, seeks an experienced leader to succeed its retiring CEO.
Headquartered in Monte Vista, Colo., the cooperative is located 15 miles
west of Alamosa in the heart of the San Luis Valley with expansive
mountain vistas and miles of resilient crop fields. It’s a farming hub
for potatoes, alfalfa and carrots, but has become most famous for
another agricultural product—Coors barley. The world’s largest
single-site brewery, Coors Brewing Company, based in Golden, Colo.,
relies on the farms around Monte Vista to produce special barley for its
rocky mountain-style beer. The area is surrounded by Colorado’s
magnificent mountains—some of which peak at 14,000 feet. Whether you
are going east to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, south to San Luis
to see the Stations of the Cross, ride the Cumbres & Toltec Train,
north to climb Penitente or west to Wolf Creek Skiing and the Creede
Mining District, Monte Vista is an hour from every activity in the San
Luis Valley. It is one hour from Salida, two and half hours from
Durango, ninety minutes from Taos and three hours from Santa Fe. The
area has abundant hunting, fishing, water-skiing, hiking, biking,
golfing, and outdoor recreation. There are 3 hospitals in the area, as
well as Adams State College and Trinidad State Junior College. The
community is family oriented with a strong cultural diversity and a
sunny climate. The cooperative serves a strong agricultural, farming and
ranching community. Its service territory covers seven counties and
serves 13,000 meters—52% residential and 48% agricultural. The
cooperative has 2,800 miles of distribution line, has $28M in annual
revenues and 46 full time employees. The successful candidate should
have a minimum of 10 years of proven senior management experience in the
electric utility industry, preferably in the rural electric cooperative
program. It is preferred that the successful candidate hold a
bachelor’s degree in a field related to the challenges of the CEO
position, but the board will consider senior level management experience
in the electric utility industry and strong leadership skills, in lieu
of a degree. The CEO reports to a seven-member elected board of
directors. Candidates should have proven senior management experience in
the areas of finance and accounting, member relations, personnel and
electric operations. It is mandatory that the CEO have strong
interpersonal skills, strong oral and written communication skills,
maintain a positive attitude, have strong leadership skills, be a team
builder and work well with the employees, and have the ability to
develop positive long term relationships with the consumer members,
community organizations, legislators, CREA, Tri-State G&T, the
employees and the board. With a full benefit package and relocation
expense provided, annual compensation will be commensurate with
experience and qualifications. The CEO should begin work by late in
2011. Application packages need a cover letter, resume, recent salary
history, along with six business and three personal references by email,
no later than May 31, 2011 to: Langley & Associates Executive
Search, Inc., Attn: Carol M. Langley, president, phone 303/694-2228, or
fax 303/694-2216, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All information kept strictly confidential—an EOE.
Director of power system operations—The
Athens Utilities Board in Athens, Tenn., is seeking applicants for the
position of director of power system operations. This position reports
to the superintendent of power. The municipal utility serves a total of
13,119 power customers. Ideal candidate would have a four-year degree
in electrical engineering; two to five years experience in the
management and engineering of a power distribution system. Professional
engineer registration in the state of Tennessee not required but
preferable. Customer service focus is essential along with strong
communication skills and the ability to work with the public. To apply,
contact Phyllis Lunceford, email@example.com.
Deputy superintendent of electric utility—Management
position available with municipal electric utility. Nassau City
residency required. Required broad utility management experience in the
operation of generation and distribution system. Electric distribution
and/or diesel engine/generator experience a plus. Knowledge of power
planning, environmental and safety regulations. Familiarity with current
deregulation issues essential. B.S. in engineering required. EOE.
Salary DOQ. Respond with letter, resume, and salary history to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chief executive officer—Grand River Dam Authority. Purpose: this position serves as the chief executive officer, general manager and may also serve as director of investments of the Grand River Dam Authority. As such, it has final authority for the operations and programs conducted by the authority. Functions and responsibilities: establish goals and strategic planning for all operational objectives and programs to meet the overall mission of the Grand River Dam Authority; provide leadership and guidance to senior staff to implement and carry out these goals. provide information and work closely and effectively with the seven-member Board of Directors. Ensure the efficient operation of the thermal and hydro generation plants; plans and forecasts the sale and purchase of power to cultivate financial stability and growth. Maintain and take responsibility for compliance with all federal and state agencies and regulatory bodies. Maintain the Grand River Conservation District through the establishment of conservation programs, lake and waterway management and regulations, and cooperative programs with local, state, and federal agencies. Establish programs to enhance marketing opportunities and assist customers with meeting their electrical needs more efficiently. Monitor, evaluate and make recommendations to the board on current and existing investment strategies, including the issuance of bonds as they relate to the operation of the electricity generation and transmission facilities of the district, including fuels. Be the liaison to the state bond adviser and all investment and commercial banks that the district selects for any purpose related to investments, bond issues, or other obligation issues on behalf of the district. Knowledge, skills and abilities required: knowledge of laws relating to generation and transmission of power; of public administration related to utility management; of economic trends in the electric utility industry; and of water and wildlife conservation principles. Skill and ability in strategic planning; in establishing effective fiscal policies and the ability to read financial reports in order to monitor results; in personnel management and employee communications; in forming and maintaining good customer relations; and in building effective relationships with other utilities, regulating agencies, legislators and stakeholders. Experience in the management and operation of a public or private electric utility. Desired qualifications: juris doctorate, master’s degree in business, licensed certified public accountant, bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, or a degreed candidate with experience in electrical generation or a closely related field or a strong background in public or business administration relating to the utility industry. The following information will better define the specifics of the duties and responsibilities assigned to the general manager/CEO position. Joint action operations (generation/transmission). The CEO has ultimate responsibility for the following. Generation: the coal-fired complex has combined assets of approximately $500 million. This includes two 500-MW turbines; multimillion-dollar contracts with coal producers and railroads. The river pump station supplies water to both the coal-fired complex and the Oklahoma Ordinance Works Authority; and three hydroelectric plants. Pensacola Dam has six generators which produce 120 MW of power. Salina Pumped Storage Project has six generators which produce 240 MW of power. Kerr Dam has four generators which produce 112 MW. The GRDA also has a 39% interest in the Red Bud Plant with OG&E and OMPA located near Luther, Okla. This facility is fired by natural gas and requires oversight from GRDA personnel even though the plant is operated and managed by OG&E. Transmission: the Grand River Dam Authority maintains 1,175 miles of transmission lines, over 75 substations and over 400 meters. The majority of these assets are located in a 24- county area in northeast Oklahoma. The authority also maintains distribution lines for businesses in the Mid-America Industrial Park. The majority of Grand River Dam Authority's power is purchased by municipal customers, rural electric cooperatives, and the industrial customers at the Mid-America Industrial Park. Excess power is sold to other power companies. Water Conservation District: this district includes several major rivers as well as numerous streams, creeks, and the major water shed area in northeast Oklahoma. There are two lakes, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees and Lake Hudson, included in the district. The combined size of these two lakes is roughly 60,000 acres with approximately 2,000 miles of shoreline. They serve as support for much of the economic development for the surrounding areas. The economic development must be balanced with flood control, wildlife concerns, power production, and recreational interests. Policies and rules help maintain this balance. General administrative duties: Grand River Dam Authority is a $380 million a year revenue company. It has a net worth of $427 million and possesses significant working capital. Financial obligations must be met while maintaining a steady growth pattern. The authority must meet a $133 million per year bond obligation, millions of dollars in coal and railroad costs, payroll for 480 employees, and the need to purchase materials and additional labor necessary to maintain the operations of the Grand River Dam Authority. This must be balanced with keeping GRDA’s financial ratings at an acceptable level. Director of investments: additionally the CEO may, upon approval of the board, serve as the director of investments if they possess a juris doctorate, master’s degree in business, or licensed certified public accountant. The director of investments shall be responsible for establishing programs to enhance marketing opportunities and assist customers with meeting their electrical needs more efficiently. Monitor current and existing investment strategies as they relate to the operation of the electricity generation and transmission facilities of the district. Evaluate investment strategies designed to reduce price fluctuations in fuels used by the district. Provide recommendations to the Board regarding the most cost-effective investment strategies with the goal of keeping fuel prices low. Be the liaison with market participants and service providers in implementing investment strategies. Monitor and evaluate all bond issuance strategies and make recommendations to the board regarding the most cost-effective strategies for bond issues; have the experience to work well with the financial rating agencies i.e. Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, etc. Be the liaison with market participants and service providers in implementing bond issuance strategies. Monitor national and international standards for the issuance of debt obligations by government entities. Monitor conditions of and trends in national and international markets for debt obligations of governmental entities. Monitor qualifications and fees of underwriters, bond and other counsel, financial advisers and consultants, trustees and other fiduciaries, and paying agents. Be the liaison to all rating agencies (Standard & Poor's, Moody's, Fitch, etc.) for the purpose of maintaining or improving the investment grade status of all district bonds and other obligations. Monitor all district bond issues and other obligations to protect district bondholder and obligation holder interests. Be the liaison to all investment and commercial banks that the district selects for any purpose related to investments, bond issues, or other obligation issues on behalf of the district; and otherwise be responsible for monitoring the investments of the district. Salary commensurate with education, experience and training ranging from $135,000 to $225,000. Please send resume to: Allison Goodpaster Carter, Human Resources, P.O. Box 409, Vinita, Oklahoma 74301-0409; www.GRDA.com. We are an equal opportunity employer.
Check out APPA's career services on the Web
Visit the Career Center at PublicPower.org.
Our career center allows job seekers to upload resumes—and recruiters
to obtain resumes from job seekers. APPA members can post online ads for
$175 for a 30-day posting or $225 for a 60-day posting (rates are $275
and $325, respectively, for nonmembers). Ads in Public Power Daily and
Public Power Weekly cost 70 cents per word for members and 80 cents per
word for nonmembers, for a one-week run. Job posting subscriptions are
available in packages of five or 10, or unlimited for a full year. If
you have questions about classified ads, write or call David L.
Blaylock, DBlaylock@publicpower.org or 202/467-2946.
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