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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

Virginia Unsure about Utility Generation Spin-off

LCG, Oct. 29, 2001--Nine days of hearings pitting the staff of the Virginia State Corporation Commission against officials of Dominion Resources Inc. ended Friday and now it is up to three Commission judges to decide how Dominion subsidiary Virginia Electric & Power Co. will reorganize itself to prepare for competition, which is coming to the state's electricity markets beginning January 1.

At issue is whether Dominion should be allowed to set up a separate company and place Virginia power's generating assets in that new firm, or be required to keep the power plants within a division of Virginia Power, where regulators can continue to exert control over them.

Critics of Dominion's plan say regulatory oversight is needed in case something goes wrong with the state's electric restructuring program, as happened in California.

Virginia Power says that transferring ownership of the plants, valued at $6.8 billion, to a legally separate subsidiary is necessary for the success of electricity competition in Virginia and for Dominion's success as a competitive supplier.

The Commission staff, backed by the Virginia attorney general's office, residential and industrial consumer groups and some of Dominion's potential competitors, argue that keeping plants in a separate Virginia Power division would best serve the public interest.

The 1999 Virginia electric deregulation law requires that utilities "unbundle" their operations into distinct generation, transmission and distribution operations. Generation, the only one of the three that is actually being deregulated, would have to belong to a separate entity.

Though the law says the separation scheme must be in place by January 1, it won't be. Because Virginia Power also serves customers in North Carolina, utility regulators in that state must also agree to its reorganization plan. The utility now says it won't be ready to reorganize the company until next September and possibly not until 2003.

Even though the hearings have ended, the arguments will continue. The Commission judges have asked Virginia Power and other parties in the reorganization case to file briefs with them by the end of next week.

Similar hearings begin today on the reorganization plan proposed by American Electric Power Co. Inc., Virginia's second-largest electric utility.

Whether these reorganization plans are approved or not, competition for retail electricity customers will begin in Virginia on this coming New Year's Day.

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