Energy Law Journal: Excerpts from Past Issues

Ten Years Ago
“As of late, ‘liberalization’ and ‘regulation’ of electricity markets have devolved into expressions of largely inflated use, perhaps the safest and fastest way for those expressions to become meaningless.  But, properly understood, these terms remain meaningful, reflecting a fundamental change in the legal framework designed for energy markets; a change which started in the U.S. and which now, after some delay, is occurring in Europe as well.  Liberalization, for purposes here, refers to the abolition of the rights of monopolies, rights which accorded European and U.S.-American energy supplier’s protection against competition.  Regulation, as used here, has a double meaning.  First, it relates to measures taken or enacted to ensure competition in liberalized (energy) markets.  In this respect, regulation constitutes a type of sector-specific competition law, adjusted to meet the economic and technical characteristics of the various energy markets.  Second, regulation makes it possible to take account of the fundamental importance of secure and reliable energy supply for the public welfare.”
Prof. Dr. Thomas von Danwitz, Regulation and Liberalization of the European Electricity Market – a German View, 27 ELJ 423 (2006)
Twenty Years Ago
“By providing the opportunity to economically move power over great distances, the high-voltage transmission system allows for consolidation of previously spatially-dispersed demands.  The consolidated demand can be served by a relatively smaller number of larger, more efficient generating plants rather than a large number of small isolated plants.  The result is greater exploitation of scale economies at the generating plant level.”
Raymond S. Hartman, The Efficiency of Electric Utility Mergers: Lessons from Statistical Cost Analysis, 17 ELJ 425, 430 (1996)
Thirty Years Ago
“[T]he courts have defended the FERC’s exclusive regulatory authority over interstate rates against state commission encroachment.  Moreover, in Nantahala, the Court applied an expansive interpretation of what constitutes an ‘impermissible interference’ with the FERC’s jurisdiction.  By not limiting the holding to ‘rates per se’ the Court drove home the message that local public utility commissions have a duty not to interfere, in any manner, in the area of the FERC’s exclusive domain – regulation of interstate wholesale rates.”
Andrea J. Ercolano and Peter C. Lesch, Narragansett Update: From Washington Gas Light to Nantahala, 7 ELJ 333, 341 (1986) (emphasis in original).