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ERCOT 2019 Summer Quarter Outlook

LCG, May 29, 2019-- LCG released a new summer (June – September 2019) report that looks at how the ERCOT grid copes with strained network conditions. Resource adequacy analysis for the region is especially important during extreme summer loading conditions. This summer the network is under particular scrutiny as the reserves have tightened because of recent retirements.

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South Field Energy Breaks Ground for 1,182-MW Power Plant

LCG, May 16, 2019--South Field Energy LLC announced yesterday its groundbreaking for an 1,182-MW, combined-cycle electric generating facility in Columbiana County, Ohio. The natural gas-fired facility is scheduled to commence operations in mid-2021 and represents a $1.3 billion investment.

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Industry News

California Capsule: Enron Sues to Head Off Contempt Finding

LCG, July 12, 2001Enron Corp. filed suit yesterday in California Superior Court in Sacramento seeking to head off an expected finding of contempt against the company by the state Senate Select Committee to Investigate Market Manipulation, which is probing allegations of price gouging in California's energy market.

Just hours later, the panel voted 6-0 to ask to full Senate whether the company should be held in contempt for failing to supply confidential documents subpoenaed by the panel.

In a statement, the Houston-based energy giant said "Today Enron has filed suit against the Select Committee seeking to have an impartial neutral court determine Enron's rights and obligations under the Select Committee subpoena."

Enron contends that the committee has no legal jurisdiction over wholesale electricity prices, the regulatory authority is vested in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and that the panel's proceedings violate its legal rights.

In a letter to the committee, one Enron official wrote "It is exceedingly difficult to discern whether the committee's actions are designed to uncover the facts underlying the price spikes in California's wholesale electric power market, or to create a convenient political scapegoat to shoulder the blame for California's policy mistakes."

State Sen. Steve Peace, a Chula Vista Democrat and the chief architect of California's failed electric deregulation scheme, told Enron's legal team "You are treading into the territory of asking a court to make judgment on the rules and the law governing the rights of the Legislature. It is a separation of powers issue of the highest order."

Enron has contended all along that the committee is violating FERC's jurisdiction, that it isn't entitled to documents that are stored outside California, and that it doesn't have the right to the confidential information and trade secrets in the documents.

Peace glared at Enron's lawyers and said "You have declared war on the state of California. You are very smart people, I'll give you that. Nefarious and smart."

Smarter, perhaps, than Peace and other lawmakers who "crafted" California's AB 1890, which ignored several laws of economics in attempting to be all things to all people. If ratepayers had not been artificially shielded from market prices, and if power supply had not been allowed to lag behind demand, California would not have an electricity crisis.

Plan to Save Power by Dropping Voltage Delayed
A plan to conserve as much as 500 megawatts of power the equivalent of the output of a major power plant would take at least three months to put into effect and would not be nearly as effective as advertised, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said yesterday.

The statement by PG&E, which said it has been studying the technique for at least 25 years, dealt a setback to the California Public Utilities Commission which was set to approve the scheme today.

"It's quite unfortunate that, although we had a cooperative process, those concerns were not expressed until yesterday," CPUC President Loretta Lynch told reporters on Wednesday. "I thought everybody was working on the same page, until yesterday."

PG&E, however, said it could probably save no more than 40 megawatts, and even that would take three months to achieve.

"In most cases, the utility's electric distribution system is already operating at the lowest voltages possible consistent with existing regulations," the company said in a statement released yesterday evening. It also said it has told the CPUC that "any additional voltage reduction -- beyond what the utility already has done -- must be done manually on circuits throughout Northern and Central California, and could take as long as three months to complete."

PG&E added for emphasis "Nothing in these comments runs contrary to the position the company has held throughout this process, and has shared fully with regulators and experts. Any suggestion to the contrary is uninformed and inaccurate."

Enron Tentatively Okays Power Deals with Universities
Enron Corp., which had in March attempted to return two huge power supply customers to their original utilities, agreed tentatively yesterday to continue for two years its direct-purchase contracts with the University of California and the California State University systems.

The agreement would settle a lawsuit brought by the university systems in March after Enron sought to walk away from the contracts.

The agreement means that the schools can continue to purchase power at the contract rates through next march 31. To extend the contracts for two additional years, Enron and the universities must negotiate new terms by December 1 of this year.

Adding two years to the contracts would save taxpayers at least $12 million a month at the eight-campus University of California alone, said UC spokesman Charles McFadden. At least as much could be save at Cal State's 13 campuses.

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