Utility Restructuring Weekly Update

A reminder that this weekly service is available from DOE. Anyone can request to be added to the email distribution list. Notice the availability on DOE’s website.

Subject: Utility Restructuring Weekly Update
Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:46:48 -0500
From: Jennifer Bergman
To: Ericka Goss

January 22, 1999
Utility Restructuring Weekly Update

This weekly information has been compiled by Energetics, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy. Questions or comments on subscribing to the weekly should be directed to either Jennifer Bergman, Energetics, jbergman@energeticsinc.com, or Diane Pirkey, U.S. Department of Energy, DIANE.PIRKEY@HQ.DOE.GOV. All other inquiries should be directed to the specific organization in question.

The Weekly Update is available on the Internet at

State legislators from around the country are expressing their opposition to Congressional activity that will preempt state efforts in the area of electric industry restructuring. Speaking on behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures, . . . . . .

Yahoo Utilities Company News: http://biz.yahoo.com
PMA Daily Power Report: http://www.powermarketers.com
EnergyOnline: http://www.energyonline.com

Jennifer Bergman
Energetics, Incorporated
501 School Street, SW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20024
(202)479-2748 ext. 108
Fax (202)479-0229

Ultra-Net Satellite SCADA Communications Network

ULTRA-NETª is a satellite communications system which provides reliable dedicated links between a company’s control centers and remote data acquisition, monitoring and control points. ULTRA-NETª improves reliability by providing a low cost, real time, monitoring of critical operating parameters, and enabling the automation of systems that are dispersed over a wide geographical area. It also can be used to augment or replace older communication systems (which can help justify the cost of automation projects).

Ultra-Net has already been demonstrated and proven in full scale use for over 3 years in SCADA applications by Southern California Edison (SCE), linking nearly 200 remote terminals at 150 substations to central control centers (equipment monitoring, load switching, etc.). There is a great deal of operational data available.

The system is not affected by terrain variations such as mountains, hills and river valleys that impede radio and microwave communications. It eliminates the need to acquire and access heavily congested radio frequencies, and it eliminates the high cost of leased telephone lines and the cost of substation ground fault isolation. ULTRA-NETä systems can be installed in environmentally sensitive areas that can not be accessed for the installation of landlines, radio, or microwave towers. The documented avoided cost savings at SCE were in excess of five times the cost of equipment and labor of alternative technologies.

Another positive feature of ULTRA-NETª is that high wind, ice and snow loading do not adversely affect its performance (in marked contrast to ground phone lines). Nor are systems affected by flooding, as are buried lines and vaults. SCE’s system has survived Santa Ana windstorms with wind speeds over 100 mph, with no effect on performance.

Ultra-Net is designed for very specific niche applications — SCADA systems in electric, gas and water utilities, and oil and gas pipelines. It likewise is well suited for distribution automation and weather or hydrological data collection.

The small earth station units are self-contained, and are easily installed with mimimal site impact and with direct interface to existing user equipment , with only DC power and RS-232 data cables as the only connections. The system uses commercial geosynchronous satellites, so it provides uninterrupted dedicated communications, polling every remote unit every 4 seconds.

Edison Technology Solutions (ETS) is offering the system commercially, and will develop the requirements and cost proposal, do the installation, and provide service and support.

Contact: Jerry Barich, 626.815.0503, jbarich@edisontec.com
Business Sensitive–UFTO Notes are for the exclusive use of UFTO
client companies and their staff, except as authorized in writing.

Fuel Cell Information Sources

The industry pays a lot of attention to Fuel Cells and there are many sources of information, so UFTO doesn’t attempt to cover this huge topic except for unusual or less visible developments.

If you didn’t go to the big meeting in Palm Springs last Fall, you can purchase a copy of the of the 1998 Fuel Cell Seminar Abstract book for $45 (includes U.S. shipping & handling), or if you prefer in CD ROM format for $20 (includes U.S. postage & handling). For international orders please contact us for shipping information.

Mail check to:
Fuel Cell Seminar
2000 L Street, NW. Suite 710
Washington, DC 20036

For credit card orders call (202) 973-8671. Please allow-2-3 weeks for delivery. Quantities are limited. (FUELCELL98@courtesyassoc.com)


Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter http://www.mhv.net/~hfcletter/
(monthly newsletter, $230/year — recommended)

Here is a list of websites on fuel cells, courtesy of Charles Berry, KeySpan Energy (Brooklyn Union), our newest UFTO member (cberry@keyspanenergy.com). Many of these sites also have lists of site links.


Fuel Cell Developer List

Brooklyn Union

International Fuel Cells

ONSI Corporation


Dais Corporation

DCH Technology

Dept. of Defense

Dept. of Energy
http://www.fetc.doe.gov/products/power/fc.html **

(** Has proceedings of the annual Joint DOE/EPRI/GRI Workshops on Fuel Cell Technology. The writeup for the May ’98 meeting in San Francisco is still in preparation by EPRI. The ’99 meeting will be in Chicago, July 27-29.)

Energy Research Corp.

Electric Power Research Institute

Epyx Corporation

Equitable Gas

Gas Research Institute

General Motors

Fuel Cell Commercialization Group

Fuel Cells 2000

A.D. Little

Air Products

American Hydrogen Association

Analytic Power Corp.

Ansaldo CLC


Avista Labs

ElectroChem, Inc.

Energy Partners

Fuel Cell File


H Power Corp.

Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter

Hydrogen Burner Technology


Hydrogen InfoNet

Humboldt State University


M-C Power

NASA Lewis Safety Manual

Natural Resource Defense Council

Northeast Utilities


National Fuel Cell Research Center

National Hydrogen Association

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

(St. Vincent’s demonstration is covered in Report 97-3)

Argonne National Labs

Oak Ridge National Labs

Plug Power, LLC

Philadelphia Inquirer

Proton Energy Systems

Sacramento Municipal Utility District

Sandia National Labs

Small-scale Fuel Cell Commercialization Group

South Coast Air Quality Management District

Stanford University
http:// www-formal.stanford.edu/jmc/progress/hydrogen.html

US Fuel Cell Council


Warsitz Enterprises, Inc.

Borderland Sciences

http://www.ndcee.ctc.com/pdfindex.htm *

*Following reports available:

Task 3: Investigate Current Uses of Fuel Cells in the DOD, issued June 2, 1997, provides a detailed overview of fuel cell technology, fuel cell manufacturers, and key support organizations. In addition, the report summarizes current DOD fuel cell applications and installations under the Fiscal Year 1993 (FY93) and FY94 DOD fuel cell programs.

Task 4: DOD-Unique Applications, issued June 20, 1997, identifies fuel cell applications not currently pursued by the DOD, including premium power, direct current (DC) power, and hydrogen source applications.

Task 5: DOD Guidebook for Evaluating Fuel Cell Technology, issued October 10, 1997, identifies fuel cell technology, guides users through the process to determine potential fuel cell applications, and allows an approach for an economic analysis of fuel cells.


CPUC OIR–Deregulate Elec. Distribution???

**(note proposal below, and let me know of your interest)***

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is about to embark on what may become the most far-reaching restructuring process to date. Motivated in large part by the advent of distributed resources (small generation and storage technologies) and the California Alliance for Distributed Energy Resources (CADER), the CPUC will evaluate over the next 12 months the rules for the distribution systems of the future.

Topics will include the role of wires companies, true retail access, whether the wires should remain a monopoly, and whether distribution companies can own or operate distributed generation and storage. The results could dramatically alter some of the most important aspects of AB1890, define the distributed technology market rules in California, and influence similar discussions now heating up in other states and on the federal level.

At its regular meeting on Dec 17, the CPUC issued an “OIR”:

R.98-12-015, “Order Instituting Rulemaking to Consider
Commission Reforms in the Structure and Regulatory Framework
Governing Electricity Distribution Service”

The full text is available online:
(in HTML, Word, or PDF format)

>>> The Summary and Rulemaking Questions are attached below. <<<<<

*******”OIR Watch Proposal”***********

Obviously, utilities in California will be heavily involved (they’re named as respondents). The rest of the country will probably want to pay close attention to this entire discussion, as lengthy and voluminous as it is likely to be.

Distributed Utility Associates (founding members of CADER and a leading consultant in distributed resources) is considering a plan to prepare concise monthly reviews of the CPUC Distribution System Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR), and to interpret its progress, direction and interpreting its importance.

The rulemaking’s implications could include new definitions of distribution companies, new business opportunities or exclusions for wires companies, needs for new or revised energy technologies and set the pace of distributed resources market entry.

In addition, a final synopsis on the resulting rulemaking and its implications on the electric utility industry could be issued at the conclusion of the twelve to fifteen month process. This would be offered as a subscription package.

Pricing is to be determined, probably in the range of $5,000, assuming a sufficient number of subscribers. UFTO Client Companies would be eligible to subscribe at a substantial discount.

Please let me know how this idea strikes you, and what your level of interest might be.


By this order, we open a rulemaking proceeding to consider whether the Commission should pursue reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service. The purpose of this proceeding is to gather additional information to assist us in framing proposals to the Legislature and our stakeholders for whatever reforms may be necessary in light of current developments in California’s electric industry.

This rulemaking will provide the opportunity for the Commission to begin consulting with the Legislature and collaborating with the Administration, interested stakeholders, and other state/local agencies who may have jurisdiction or interest in electric distribution and generation issues. In particular, we believe that our consideration of issues focusing on distributed generation and/or distribution competition will benefit from a collaborative effort among the Commission, the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the California Electricity Oversight Board (EOB). This process will allow us to work with these parties to identify the range of issues on distributed generation and distribution competition, and their interrelationships; explore whether we should undertake a focused analysis of distributed generation or a more comprehensive consideration of distribution competition issues; and determine those issues we can address more narrowly and more expeditiously. At the end of this process, we anticipate issuing a proposal that reflects our coordination with the CEC and the EOB, outlining the specific steps we will undertake, in cooperation with the Legislature, in addressing the issues and considering proposed changes in our regulatory policies and rules.

We solicit comments and proposals regarding the scope and substance of issues that need to be addressed, possible policy options, and the procedural steps that the Commission could pursue in adopting and implementing needed reforms that are consistent with the state’s goals and objectives in electric restructuring. We invite responses to our questions in Appendix A of this rulemaking. Respondents shall and interested parties may file opening comments on or before March 17, 1999, and reply comments on or before May 17, 1999. Given the collaborative efforts we intend to undertake with the CEC and the EOB in this proceeding, respondents and interested parties should also provide copies of their comments to these two agencies. We intend to consider a proposal from the Assigned Commissioner in the summer of 1999.


Rulemaking Questions

From a policy perspective, does consideration of DG necessarily require a broader, more comprehensive look at distribution competition and the role of the UDC?

Where has competition, as it relates to distribution, emerged or not emerged in California? Has there been growth in irrigation, municipal, and other public utility districts in the existing service areas of the UDCs? What has been the market penetration of DG, self-generation, and T&D substitutes in California?

Is there a need for further reforms in the structure and regulatory framework governing electricity distribution service, in light of current market developments described in your response to Q2 above? If so, what are they? What is the UDC’s ultimate role in this restructured energy market?

How would competition in distribution service be effected? Please give specific examples or scenarios manifesting competition in distribution facilities and/or services. What is the Commission’s role and the roles of other state/local agencies?

How would the integrity, reliability, safety, and efficiency of the T&D system be affected by a more competitive electric distribution and/or DG market? Please provide policy options.

What are the regulatory jurisdictional effects, if any, of allowing more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.

Provide an assessment of the possible environmental impacts of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.

Provide an assessment of the possible social, economic, and labor impacts, including implications for public purpose programs (i.e., energy efficiency and low-income programs), of increased competition in distribution and/or DG. Please provide policy options.

What are the ratemaking consequences of introducing or encouraging more competition in distribution and/or DG? Please provide policy options.

Describe the potential costs of promoting competition in distribution and/or DG? What are the potential stranded costs? What are the benefits? How should the potential costs and benefits be analyzed and quantified?

Does competition in electric distribution service have implications on the delivery infrastructure for natural gas? Please describe any such interrelationship and the resulting impacts on customer benefits, the environment, and regulatory structure?

What procedural steps should be pursued? Should there be a more focused analysis of DG issues, or a more comprehensive consideration of issues surrounding distribution competition? Are there issues which are more appropriately considered in workshops, full panel hearings, and/or other procedural forums?