Federal Government uses UPLAN model to examine price volatility in ERCOT

LCG, October 11, 2022--The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, released its latest supplement to the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in the Texas market, assessing various possible scenarios using LCG’s UPLAN NPM model, with a special focus on the effects on wholesale power prices and market conditions.

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Michigan Governor Supports Reopening Palisades Nuclear Facility

LCG, September 16, 2022--The Governor of Michigan last week sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in support of Holtec International’s application for a federal grant under the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) program to save the Palisades Nuclear Facility in Southwest Michigan. The federal grant could result in restarting the baseload, carbon-free, nuclear power plant.

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Industry News

California Utilities Tottering on Brink of Bankruptcy

LCG, Dec. 14, 2000--California's two largest utilities acknowledged yesterday that they are flirting with bankruptcy and may soon not have enough money to pay for electricity which they deliver to their retail distribution customers.

"We continue to have the ability to make power purchases on behalf of our customers," said Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman Ron Low. "But we cannot go on indefinitely borrowing money topay for our customers' electricity."

PG&E and Southern California Edison Co. are now in an $8 billion hole that gets deeper every day as the two companies are forced to pay market prices for power which they deliver to customers protected by rates frozen at a level 10 percent lower than they were paying in 1997.

So far in December, electricity prices have averaged about $330 per megawatt-hour, with a spike yesterday to $1,407 on the spot market. PG&E has since May paid around $4.6 billion more for power than it has collected from its customers. For SoCal Ed the figure is some $3.5 billion.

As a part of electric deregulation in California, the state's three investor-owned utilities (San Diego Gas & Electric Co. is the third) sold off their non-nuclear power plants. They were also enjoined by the state's restructuring law from entering into long-term power purchase agreements with the companies that bought their plants, and forced to purchase all of their power through a quasi-public agency, the California Power Exchange.

Yesterday, some operators of the state's power plants were declining to sell electricity to PG&E or SoCal Ed unless they received cash on the barrel head, a sure sign the power producers are worried about the possibility of bankruptcy.

Financial markets are beginning to take notice of the financial plight of the utilities, with Standard & Poor's placing both PG&E and SoCal Ed on its credit watch with "negative implications." But S&P said it expected that the two companies would eventually be allowed to collect most of their power costs from customers.

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