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Public Utility Commission Regulation: Performance, Determinants, and Energy Policy Impacts

Peter Navarro

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No2-7
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Abstract:
Recent theoretical and empirical research has focused on the effect of public utility commission (PUC) regulation and its associated "regulatory climate" on the cost and availability of capital to regulated investor-owned electric utilities. These studies show that in general, the more unfavorable the regulatory climate, the higher the cost and the less available is external financing to the regulatees in a PUC jurisdiction.



Oil and Ideology in the United States Senate

Joseph P. Kalt

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No2-8
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Abstract:
The last decade has brought dramatic changes in U.S. energy policy. These changes provide fertile ground for research. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the petroleum sector, where develop-ments since the Arab oil embargo of 1973 have been accompanied by major alterations in the direction and scope of federal involvement. The ready availability of both relevant data and tried-and-tested methodologies facilitates scholarly investigation of the effects of post-embargo federal petroleum policy. To be sure, the opportunities for these investigations are not being passed up.



I. Conceptual Framework - The Gordian Knot of Natural Gas Prices

Henry D. Jacoby and Arthur W. Wright

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No4-1
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Abstract:
Federal policy toward natural gas prices is once again the subject of national debate. Thought to be settled once and for all by the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA), it reemerged as an issue in 1981. The proximate causes of the renewed controversy included candidate Ronald Reagan's campaign promise to seek wellhead price decontrol, and the Reagan administration's attempts (until March 1982) to find a workable decontrol proposal. But the wellsprings of the problem go deeper than this, to the history of gas price regulation, to changes in energy markets since 1978, and to serious defects in the NGPA itself.



II. Problems with the NGPA - The Need to Modify the Natural Gas Policy Act

Catherine Good Abbott

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No4-2
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Abstract:
The current debate over the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA) has three components: 1. Is the NGPA likely to achieve the goals Congress established for it in 1978? 2. Is the NGPA likely to lead to an extension of controls beyond 1985? If so, what are the consequences of such an extension? 3. What are the costs and benefits of alternatives to the NGPA?



III. How Industry Sees the Future - The Tenneco Perspective

Joe B. Foster

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No4-3
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Abstract:
A brief comment about the title given to this presentation. If you know the gas industry at all, you know that no one dares to speak for anyone else. Even within Tenneco, we look at natural gas deregulation from several points of view: Tenneco Oil is the country's fifteenth largest producer of natural gas, and it is the only one of the top 20 oil companies that derives more revenue from sales of natural gas than from crude oil.



V. Policy Trends: The Future Is Now - The Decline and Fall of Regulation in the Natural Gas Industry

Arlon R. Tussing and Connie C. Barlow

Year: 1982
Volume: Volume 3
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol3-No4-5
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Abstract:
A theme that runs through the long, convoluted history of natural gas regulation is the seemingly inexorable expansion of government intervention. Regulation has spawned further regulation; soon after one regulatory gap was filled, another appeared. Municipal franchising and price regulation of gas distributors led to state oversight of intrastate gas transmission, which prompted federal regulation of interstate transmission, followed by control of interstate affiliated field prices and later interstate independent field prices. Finally, the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA) extended federal jurisdiction to all intrastate field sales.





Utility Diversification

Alfred E. Kahn

Year: 1983
Volume: Volume 4
Number: Number 1
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol4-No1-9
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Abstract:
Diversification by public utility companies is a topic in which I have had a longstanding interest. The second volume of my Economics of Regulation, for example, contains a 73-page chapter largely devoted to this subject. I have taken the occasion to reread that discussion, and have observed with interest-and some amusement-how similar the issues were as I saw them then to the issues with which the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners is grappling today. The entire chapter consists of the advantages and possible benefits of utility company diversification, on the one side, and the possible drawbacks and dangers, on the other. The first of these could well have been written by the utility companies today; the other, by those regulators and members of the public at large who are resolutely opposed to any such dilutions of the public utility concept. My own not very striking conclusion was that "The balance of social advantage will obviously vary from one industry to another [p. 268].... There is no single optimum pattern or combination for all situations [p. 324]...."



Energy-Output Coefficients: Complex Realities Behind Simple Ratios

G. C. Watkins and E. R. Berndt

Year: 1983
Volume: Volume 4
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol4-No2-8
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Abstract:
The demand for energy is a derived demand, since it is transmitted from demands for goods and services that incorporate energy as an input. Trends in the ratio of energy consumption to the level of output the so-called energy coefficient-are often used to examine energy demand in the industrial and other demand sectors.' In a market economy, the inference of this approach is that at a time of increasing energy prices, a rise in the energy coefficient is an indication of waste and inefficiency or of a perverse price response. Correspondingly, a fall in the energy coefficient is evidence of the efficacy of the price mechanism and government regulations inpromoting energy conservation.



Deregulating the Generation of Electricity Through the Creation of Spot Markets for Bulk Power

Roger E. Bohn, Bennett W. Golub, Richard D. Tabors, and Fred C. Schweppet

Year: 1984
Volume: Volume 5
Number: Number 2
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol5-No2-5
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Abstract:
Many observers are dissatisfied with the current condition of privately owned electric utilities in the United States. Numerous pro-posals have been made for change, including suggestions to deregulate all or part of the industry.' Those who favor deregulation argue that electric power systems, and especially electric generation, may no longer be natural monopolies. Furthermore, under the present regulatory regime, many utilities are refraining from investing, which is not in the best interests of their customers.2 Others, however, worry that quality and reliability of1. See Golub (1982, Chapter 2) for a review of the literature on deregulating electricutilities.2. A major electric utility's internal planning documents discussed the problem as follows. The ability to raise new capital is finite, and is especially limited given the current financial condition, the economy, and the regulatory climate. Thus, although the recommended investments ... will lead to a correct economic decision ... they may not be desirable due to other constraints [on the company] ... The document goes on to report that the company is not investing in coal projects, although such projects' long-term cost is one-third less than current anticipated generating costs.




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