Archive for April, 2010

FERC Staff 2009 State of the Markets Report

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Issued April 15, 2010.  A rather enlightening summary in a 22 page PDF document, equivalent to a Powerpoint show, with lots of numbers: .  Electricity demand was down in 2009, gas supplies were up, the gas market is more integrated nationally.


Increases in Retail Electric Prices Significantly Greater in States with Deregulated Electric Markets

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Between 1997 and 2009, increases in retail electric prices were significantly greater in states with deregulated electric markets than in regulated states ( display.articles.Electric_Light_Power_Newsletter.enewsletter.Retail_electric_rates_in_deregulated_and_regulated_states__2009_update/QP129867/cmpid=ELPENLApril62010.html).  The Electric Light & Power Newsletter’s source is an EIA survey, which I have not read.  Maybe I will read it and offer comments. This is certainly not good news for advocates of retail competition.


Think Tank Seminars

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

I attend several think tank presentations per week and I cross ideological borders from libertarian to progressive.  Before the recession, most of the functions included breakfast or lunch. Depending on the think tank, there was served what I heard someone refer to as the “official think tank box lunch,” a cold buffet, or sometimes a hot buffet.  Even an occasional real meal at a hotel for a half-day or full-day seminar.  There was a wide range of breakfasts also. You might be seated at tables or in rows of chairs.

Since the financial meltdown, the fare has gotten poorer at most think tanks, you are more likely to be seated in rows, and there are many more presentations between meal times.  Most presentations are now live on webinar, so they can probably show their donors that total attendance is up when this is taken into consideration. I find that when I watch webinars rather than attend live sessions, my attention drifts to other things, but I do not know if that is a factor in think tank cost-benefit analysis.

Another thing that seems to have happened is that these think tank sessions are more politically and ideologically diverse than they were before the recession. I do not have a statistically valid sample, but this is my impression, perhaps to be served with a grain of salt. It may be the case that one cannot shove the party line down guests’ throats without food and drink, so a higher quality of presentation is required.

Thus, I find the presentations to be more intellectually stimulating than they were before. I miss the food and networking opportunities that are more readily available when you are seated at tables. They still do not leave enough time for Q&A, nor do most moderators know how to control speeches by the attendees during this time.

Of course, some think tanks have more resources than others, and this changes over time. Yesterday’s high flier might be tomorrow’s dog.

If you are an individual looking for a job in Washington or are simply interested in increased networking opportunities in the think tank community, I can probably point you in the right direction. This is community service, not a billable opportunity for me.

I do offer services in this area that involve more time and effort than it takes to help a fellow networker. Call or email if you are interested in anything in this area. I can attend any event on almost any issue, write a summary, and discuss it with you in person or by phone.