This column invites readers to suggest and comment on topics of interest in the utility industry.

In December 2002, we asked: What will it take to get utilities constructing transmission again?

In regard to the question pertaining to utilities and new transmission construction, I suspect that it will take a major shift in policy and legislation at the national level to accomplish this. As things now exist, there is no compelling incentive for utilities to invest in new transmission construction unless an immediate cost/income benefit can be realized. Parochial interests and concern for quarterly income reports to stockholders shall continue to trump long-range planning and investment until this current environment is altered.

A national master plan similar in scope to that devised for the interstate highway system appears to be the simplest and most expedient route to take. I realize that this may sound very radical, however, with the myriad special political interests, regulations and managerial fiefdoms to be contended with, chances of broad-based voluntary cooperation appear to be very slim indeed.

One must remember that beside the questions concerning electric power reliability and quality, we are talking about the interstate transportation of a commodity — electric energy. Power producers and consumers must have an efficient and cost-effective means connecting in order for a free market and deregulation to work.

Sincerely,
Douglas Hull, president, NH Industries Inc. (Lakewood, Colorado, U.S.)

Please send your comments, credits and criticisms to:

T&D World, Sound Off
Attn: Emily Saarela, Managing Editor

esaarela@primediabusiness.com.

Be sure to include your name, title, department and company.

New topics for discussion:

  • How should we reconcile FERC's SMD with state's interests?

  • Will the FERC's incentive pricing for regional transmission networks work?

Beginning in January 2003, Transmission & Distribution World will feature a new monthly column. “Sound Off” invites readers to suggest and comment on topics of interest in the utility industry. T&D World will publish readers' comments on specific topics in upcoming issues.

Please send your comments, credits and criticisms to:

Sound Off, Attention Emily Saarela, Managing Editor esaarela@primediabusiness.com.

Be sure to include your name, title, department and company.

Topics for January 2003:

  • What will it take to get utilities constructing transmission again?

  • Will we see blackouts in 2003?

  • Is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission taking us in a direction the industry needs to go?