NEW SENATE ELECTRICITY LEGISLATION: A NEW HOPE?

Michael Giberson

In considering Lynne’s note on the new Senate electricity legislation, I couldn’t help but notice that the co-sponsoring senators were not from states that have embraced “competitive energy markets” or done much to “modernize regulation.” Senator Burr is from North Carolina; Senator Cochran from Mississippi; Senator Landrieu from Louisiana; and Senator Lott, also from Mississippi.

I haven’t yet looked at the bill, but the biggest barrier to competition in many of these states is the too comfortable relationship between state legislators, state utility regulators, and the large vertically integrated utilities.

Another problem faced by companies advocating competition, perhaps growing out of comfort with the existing state of affairs, is an ongoing jurisdictional battle between state and federal regulators.

Electric power flowing on the transmission grid on either the eastern or western interconnections are clearly part of interstate commerce and subject to federal jurisdiction, but for some Depression-era law and subsequent precedent. While I tend to see the wisdom of federalism, which allows a variety of policy experiments to be undertaken and allows policy to be adapted to local circumstances, when federalism is an excuse to erect barriers to trade then Congress ought to act to knock down those barriers.

Yet, and here I’m just guessing, somehow I suspect the bill doesn’t do much to clear up jurisdictional disputes between state and federal regulators. More likely? Tax breaks for transmission lines or maybe some sort of endorsement for the idea of “participant funding” of transmission spending.

I could be wrong. (It happens all the time.) In the ongoing saga of energy industry restructuring, this bill may represent “a new hope” for competition. All I am saying is this isn’t likely.

Lynne said she’d analyze and comment on the bill, so we’ll know soon enough.

NEW SENATE ELECTRICITY LEGISLATION

Lynne Kiesling

Senators Burr, Cochran, Landrieu, and Lott (note the much-touted “bipartisanness”) have introduced a new piece of electricity legislation:

S.498
Title: A bill to provide for expansion of electricity transmission networks in order to support competitive electricity markets, to ensure reliability of electric service, to modernize regulation and for other purposes.

It starts off with a bang — transmission infrastructure needs to be improved, barriers to competition and to investment have to be removed, price signals, etc. Will analyze and comment on anon.

Friday Coco catblogging

Lynne Kiesling

While I’m on the topic (and in work procrastination mode!), pray allow me to indulge in a wee bit of catblogging:

coco_sunworship

Elle s’appelle Coco, elle a neuf ans, et elle est absolument magnifique. Elle Ă©tait maigre et Ă©lĂ©gante il y a huit ans, donc le nom “Coco”, mais maintenant elle est la “successful domestic shorthair pet”.

Voici Coco avec deux des amis, Pooh et Paddington:

cocofriends

THE MANOLO AND LA COQUETTE

Lynne Kiesling

Something else for which to thank the Manolo … his link to La Coquette, living la vie magnifique in the fashion industry in Paris. Quel dommage. I like living vicariously through her reports on Paris Fashion Week this week.

And I really, really like the Coco Chanel quote that one of her friends left in the comments on a recent post:

“Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.”
– Gabrielle (“Coco”) Chanel

I’ll remind myself of that the next time I am preparing for a very important presentation/dinner/whatever.

BTW, have I ever mentioned that the KP cat’s name is Coco? Coincidence … I think not.

DID MARTHA KNIT HER OWN PONCHO?

Lynne Kiesling

This post over at Manolo’s place shows a picture of Martha Stewart leaving confinement in the women’s prison in West Virginia. She is wearing an almost-boho poncho.

I know that prison has an extensive knitting program for the inmates, and one of my friends who lives in the region donates her excess yarn (is there such a thing?) to the program. So here’s the question for you knitters out there: do you think Martha knit that poncho herself? Looking at the picture, it’s possible — the main pattern is a simple yarn over lace, and the borders are a pretty standard scallop, so even if she learned to knit while there, this would have been a feasible project.

Whadday think? Knitress? Anyone?

BTW, I encourage the Manolo to get over his dislike of the poncho. Yes, the fashion mania for them over the past year has been a bit over the top, but they are a fun project to make and a versatile piece of clothing to own. I have made myself three different ponchos and I love them all. They are super fantastic!