Synapse reviewed the market power implications of the proposed merger between Conectiv and PEPCO. The analysis concluded that the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities should not approve the merger as currently proposed because the merger raised possibly significant market power issues. Project completed in December 2001.
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Synapse developed guidelines for the analyses of market power in wholesale electricity markets, and conducted simulation analysis of market power in the regional electricity market. Synapse's analysis included computer modeling of the regional electricity market using the PROSYM model. Project completed in 2001.
The New England Power Pool recently opened its governance structure to allow non-profits and other customer representatives to become voting members. UCS, along with a coalition of public interest groups, hired Synapse to represent consumer and environmental interests by participating in committee discussions and voting on key issues. Project completed in 2001.
Bruce Biewald presented “Quality of Service in Performance-Based Regulation: US Experiences” at the Seminar on Regulation of Electricity Supply Quality in Milan, Italy on June 8, 2001.
Tim Woolf presented “Repowering the Midwest: Overview of Findings” before the National Press Club in Washington, DC on February 14, 2001. The presentation gave an overview of a project Synapse conducted with Brower and Company, Tellus Institute, and the Renewable Energy Policy Project to develop a plan for the aggressive implementation of energy efficiency and renewable resources in ten Midwest states.
In 1996 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission prepared a landmark environmental impact statement (EIS) on its proposal to open the wholesale electricity markets to competition. Synapse reviewed the EIS and compared its forecast to actual experience between 1995 and 2000. The analysis found that actual air emissions were even higher than those projected by FERC in its high environmental impact scenario. Project completed in October 2001.
Synapse reviewed whether the proposed cross-sound transmission cable between Connecticut and Long Island was needed for reliability purposes and would produce public benefits for Connecticut electricity customers. The results were presented in the direct testimony of David Schlissel before the Connecticut Siting Council, Docket No. 208. Project completed in October 2001.
Synapse worked with Resource Insight on a review of the proposed merger between General Public Utilities and First Energy. The analysis addressed three issues: (a) the reasonableness of the utilities' claim that FirstEnergy would be willing to sell power to GPU customers at below-market prices; (b) market power concerns raised by the merger; and (c) RTO related issues. Project completed in May 2001.
Synapse reviewed the 20 year Electric Resource Plans of Sierra Power and Nevada Power, focusing on the proposed energy efficiency programs, and the role of energy efficiency in the evolving electricity market in Nevada. The results were presented in the direct testimony of Tim Woolf before the Public Service Commission of Nevada, Docket No. 01-7016. Project completed September 2001.
Synapse provided comments on proposed rules to introduce retail competition in Virginia. The proposed rules covered a variety of topics, including codes of conduct, supplier licensing, customer information, marketing, enrollment, switching, and billing. Project completed in March 2001.
Lucy Johnston presented “The Importance of Publicly Available Power Information” before the Harvard Electricity Policy Group on June 12, 2001.
Synapse investigated Commonwealth Edison Company’s management, maintenance, and funding of its distribution system. The analysis found that ComEd had not properly maintained and invested in its distribution system during the 1990s and that these failures led to significant distribution system outages during the summers of 1998 and 1999. Project completed in November 2001.
Rebuttal Testimony Analyzing the Reasonableness of ComEd Distribution System Management
Supplemental Testimony Analyzing the Reasonableness of ComEd Distribution System Management
Lucy Johnston presented “Wholesale Electricity Markets: A Taco Short of a Combination Plate?” at the National Low Income Energy Consortium in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 6, 2001.
Synapse assisted the U.S. EPA in enforcement action against utilities for non-compliance with the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. Project completed in November 2000.
Synapse prepared testimony critiquing a PBR mechanism proposed by Connecticut Natural Gas Company. Synapse's assessment focused on how to set an appropriate PBR rate, how to account for savings from a recent merger, and the development of performance standards to prevent deterioration in customer service. Project completed in August 2000.
Synapse analyzed the market concentration and market power implications of a major electric-gas merger as part of one of the agency's anti-trust investigations. The project included the review of computer model data and methods. Project completed in September 2000.
Synapse prepared a detailed analysis of the costs of decommissioning nuclear power plants, comparing the cost implications of prompt dismantlement versus delayed dismantlement. The study included regression analysis and sensitivities to assumptions of labor costs, waste burial costs, and other decommissioning costs. Project completed in 2000.
Synapse assisted Yuasa in estimating the amount of replacement power costs that were incurred by Carolina Power and Light as a result of a power plant outage. Synapse's analysis included a review of CP&L's dispatch model and market analysis. Project completed in April 2000.
Synapse assisted CRR with a review of the New Hampshire Restructuring Settlement Agreement. Synapse focused on the cost of providing standard offer services and the additional costs due to "retail adders." This work included oral testimony before the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission in Docket 99-099. Project completed in 2000.
Synapse worked with EC/R Incorporated to provide analytical support to the EPA for its suit against utilities for non-compliance with the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. Synapse investigated the economic and financial impacts of emission control technologies and regulatory compliance strategies. Project completed in 2000.
Synapse investigated customer service performance standards in the context of an electric utility merger and rate cap plan. The analysis centered on the performance of customer call centers. Project completed in June 2000.
Synapse represented UCS in an Advisory Group to the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources to determine how to design and implement the renewable portfolio standard established by the Massachusetts restructuring act. Project completed in November 2000.
Synapse drafted comments to the US Department of Energy regarding the electricity price assumptions that should be used in estimating the benefits of national air conditioner efficiency standards. This analysis included a review of hourly electricity prices from competitive and regulated US electricity markets in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Tim Woolf and Bruce Biewald provided results in oral testimony before the US DOE. Project completed in November 2000.
Bruce Biewald presented “Electricity in New England: Market Imperfections or Failure?” at the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates Annual Meeting in San Diego, California on November 13, 2000.
Existing power plants often are subject to less stringent pollution standards than new plants under the Clean Air Act, providing a loophole for companies that own existing power plants. In “Electricity Market Distortions Associated with Inconsistent Air Quality Regulations,” an article published in The Electricity Journal, Synapse’s Tim Woolf and Bruce Biewald discuss how the loophole can create distortions in electricity markets, hinder the development of a competitive industry, and postpone some key benefits of the Clean Air Act.Access the article here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040619000000956.
Synapse assisted the Department in reviewing the economics of the Hydro-Quebec purchase by Green Mountain Power Company. Synapse investigated whether the purchase represented excess capacity, and subsequently made recommendations about how any such excess costs should be shared between ratepayers and stockholders. Project completed in December 2000.
On behalf of the Connecticut Office of Consumer Counsel, David Schlissel provided testimony before the Department of Public Utility Control regarding the potential impact of the proposed merger between Northeast Utilities and Consolidated Edison, Inc. Project completed in 2000.
Synapse analyzed nuclear power plant decommissioning funding issues in the context of the proposed merger between PECO and Unicom. Bruce Biewald filed direct testimony before the Illinois Commerce Commission in Docket NO. 00-0361 on July 31, 2000.
Testimony of David Schlissel Regarding the Decommissioning Funding for Commonwealth Edison Company Nuclear Power Plants
Synapse participated in the Mississippi Public Service Commission’s Generic Docket to Consider Competition in the Provision of Retail Electric Service. First, Synapse reviewed and critiqued the filings of Entergy and the Southern Company with regard to standard offer pricing and performance-based ratemaking for transmission and distribution services. Synapse then prepared an assessment of the market power issues likely to arise in a restructured electricity industry in Mississippi, including a critique of the market power studies of Entergy and Southern Company. Additionally, Synapse and Resource Insight prepared an assessment of the stranded cost filings of Entergy and Southern Company. The results, including a discussion of divestiture of generation assets and the responsibility for stranded costs and gains, were presented in the testimony of Bruce Biewald before the Mississippi Public Service Commission in Docket No. 96-UA-389. Project completed in 1999.
Synapse prepared testimony on ratemaking and rate design policies to promote (or at least not hinder) the appropriate installation of clean, on-site distributed generation as an alternative to other customer supply options and distribution system upgrades. Project completed in June 2000.
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