Electricity Transmission in a Restructured Industry: Data Needs for Public Policy Analysis

February 24, 2005 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90
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The Federal Government collects a great deal of information about transmission, much of which is predicated on an industrial structure that no longer exists. For about 60 years, electricity was mainly supplied at average cost of service by regulated utilities with exclusive franchises. Relative to generation, transmission was cheap. Utilities built whatever transmission they needed to serve their customers, and few relied on power from distant suppliers. In that world, transmission was not a focus of either policy attention or data collection.   --The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) efforts to replace regulation with competition have broken this mold. FERC is attempting, with mixed success, to create a ”Common Market” for wholesale power by opening the transmission grid to competing generators, by promoting regional transmission markets, and by encouraging investment in transmission capability.  The data collections were not designed to describe transmission in a restructured, competitive environment.  --The Energy Information Administration recently released a major study of official (supplied by government) transmission data. In this talk I summarize the Agency's assessment of existing official transmission data relevant to four areas of Federal policy interest -Reliability, -Economic Regulation, -Support of Markets, -Competitive pricing in wholesale power markets. --I also describe specific changes to existing forms that would address many of the gaps in existing data collections.

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