NOVEMBER 2001

Contents

  1. Chairman's Column
  2. NSW Section Annual General Meeting
  3. Message from Power Engineering Chapter Chairman
  4. Useful IEEE web addresses
  5. NSW Section web news
  6. Register for a personal e-mail alias "name@ieee.org"
  7. Accessing PICA 2001 technical information
  8. Become an IEEE Senior Member
  9. Coordinator needed for Gold Affinity Group
  10. Calling all CAS/SSC Chapter members
  11. Vale Professor Lou Davies LFIEEE
  12. Joint technical meetings for 2001-2
  13. International conferences
  14. Details of upcoming joint technical meetings
  15. A message from IEEE President Joel Snyder
  16. The fun of volunteering : an allegory
  17. Failure of the U.S. restructured electricity markets

1. CHAIRMAN’S COLUMN

Recent news has been dominated understandably by the appalling terrorist attacks in the USA. As I write it appears that the world economy could be headed for recession with many electrical engineering professionals already laid off by telecommunications and aerospace companies. In uncertain times such as these, IEEE membership becomes more valuable and important than when all is plain sailing. Make the most of the many services, information and technical support that IEEE can provide to enhance your qualifications, skills and contacts.

I was pleased to receive several positive comments on my July column on the subject of volunteers. Further to this theme, in this issue, there is an article on being an IEEE volunteer, which makes worthwhile reading. You may recall also that the last issue of CIRCUIT carried a request for volunteers for the position of Webmaster for the NSW Section. Thanks go to the many people who offered their services. We are grateful, in particular, to Jon Agnew who was selected for this position. On the negative side, however, I received no response to my request for a volunteer to form a GOLD affinity group. The topic of GOLD is covered elsewhere in this issue.

The final event of the year for the Section is the AGM. Plan to attend by filling in and returning the coupon below. I look forward to seeing you there. 

T  (email: ts.bird@ieee.org)

 

 

2. NEW SOUTH WALES SECTION ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - Friday 30 November  

All IEEE members are invited to attend the Section Annual General Meeting which will be held again this year at The Castlereagh Inn, Masonic Club, 169 Castlereagh St, Sydney, commencing at 7 pm sharp. A ‘not-to-be-missed event’ is the Annual Dinner which follows. The AGM and dinner is a wonderful chance to meet new people and see old friends. Prior to the Section AGM, starting at 6 pm, Chapters will conduct their AGMs to elect new office bearers.

The Masonic Club is within two blocks of the Town Hall Railway Station and car parking at $14 (5 pm to 1 am) is available at the Piccadilly Car Park, located adjacent to the David Jones store in Castlereagh Street. Alternatively, low-cost parking is available three blocks away at Goulburn Street City Car Park.  

The dinner will be held in Cello’s Dining Room at approximately 8 pm. Partners not wishing to attend the AGM will be able to adjourn to a separate area where drinks can be purchased. The cost of dinner is $35 per person which includes drinks on the table. Attendees should complete the reservation form below, and forward, with payment, to Andrew Parfitt by Friday 23 November.

Please Detach

IEEE  NSW  SECTION  ANNUAL  GENERAL  MEETING

Venue: The Castlereagh Inn, Masonic Club, 169 Castlereagh St, Sydney               Date:  Friday, 30 November

Times:     6.00 pm  Chapters’ AGMs    -      7.00 pm  Section AGM     

Dinner:   7.45 pm  for 8.00 pm Cello’s Dining Room

Contribution:    $35 per person (including drinks on table)  Enclosed is payment of $....... for ...... persons

  Name:..............................................................Tel: (w)..........….....    (h).....…...........   Fax.……...........

Address:.....................................

Postcode...........

Post return not later than 23 November to:   Andrew Parfitt  [Tel: 9372 4187, Fax 9372 4106]

IEEE Committee C/- PROFESSIONAL CENTRE OF AUSTRALIA,  Private Bag No. 1,  DARLINGHURST NSW 2010

AGENDA - NSW Section AGM

1. Attendance and Apologies

2. Minutes of 2000 AGM and Discussion

3. Report of Section Chairman

4. Report of Section Treasurer

5. Chapter Reports:

Power Engineering,

Communications/Signal Processing,

Computer,

Antennas & Propagation/Microwave Theory & Techniques,

Industrial Applications, Power Electronics and Industrial Electronics,

Circuits & Systems

6. Confirmation of 2002 Section Committee:

Trevor Bird, David Burger, Kate Carruthers, Karu Esselle, Graeme Gwilliam, Tim Hesketh, Walter  Lachs, Jim Logothetis, Stefan Mozar, Philip Ogunbona,  Andrew Parfitt,  Bruce Poon, Faz Rahman, Sam Reisenfeld, John Robinson, D. Tien, Jim Vasseleu & Ramutus Zakarevicius.

7. General Business

 

3. MESSAGE from the Power Engineering Chapter Chairman – Graeme GWILLIAM

Our traditionally brief AGM is on Friday, 30 November, at 6.00 pm, prior to the Section AGM.  Come and join us, have your say, with good food and fine wine to follow, if you pay.

 

4. Useful IEEE Web A ddresses

Increasingly,  the IEEE is relying on the Internet to deliver services to members. Some useful web addresses are summarised below for your information.

Region 10: www.ewh.ieee.org/reg/10

Region 10 Student Branch activities: www.cairo.utm.my/ieee/r10s tudent.htm

IEEE Contract administration:  www.ieee.org/contractsonline

Volunteer travel accident/medical plan. This is available to all IEEE volunteers and applies outside your normal country of residence. It starts and ends when you leave/arrive in your own country. For details see www.ieee.org/organizations/vols

IEEE GOLD (Graduates of the last decade) program: www.ieee.org/organizations/rab/gold/programs.html

Educational activities: www.ieee.org/eab/

Professional development: www.ieee.org/pdi

Career resources: www.ieee.org/eab/education.htm

IEEE Award programs: www.ieee.org/about/awards, www.ieee.org/organizations/rab/rab/Awards/rabawards.htm

 

5. NSW SECTION WEB NEWS

WEBMASTER ANNOUNCED

Jon Agnew has been appointed the new NSW Section Web Master.  Members are asked to review the material on the current website ((http://ewh.ieee.org/r10/ns w) and provide Jon with comments, suggestions and updates by email to jpagnew@ozem ail.com.au.

WEB PAGE FOR NSW SECTION and CHAPTERS http://ewh.ieee.org/r10/nsw

While CIRCUIT continues to be posted to members, a web page is also available on which updated issues of CIRCUIT will be provided as well as any additional meetings, workshops and activities that occur between issues of CIRCUIT. The Section web page will allow a direct link to all Chapter web pages. When a large number of members have registered their email addresses, the Section will be able to more promptly distribute issues of CIRCUIT.

CORRECTION – WEB ADDRESS OF NSW SECTION

Please note that the IEEE NSW Section web address is now http://ewh.ieee.org/r10/nsw (all lower-case characters) and not as advertised in the last issue.

 

6. REGISTER FOR A PERSONAL EMAIL ALIAS “name@ieee.org”

The IEEE offers an Alias Service with free Virus Scanning in which all IEEE members can register or update a personal alias of their choice (subject to availability), which will forward email to their real Internet email address. This overcomes the need to notify the IEEE (or the Section) if you change your home email address. To obtain an email alias go to the IEEE website (www.ieee.org), click on “Web Account” and then follow the directions.

 

7. ACCESSING PICA 2001 TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Members interested in obtaining material from the recently held PICA2001 Conference held in Sydney can go to the PICA 2001 web site - http://www.ee.unsw.edu.au/conference/pica2001/ This gives access to proceedings papers (not the 26 transaction papers that will be published in IEEE’s Power Engineering Society Transactions) as well as PowerPoint presentations from the Plenary and Panel Sessions.

 

8. BECOME AN IEEE SENIOR MEMBER

Many members may not be aware of the benefits of IEEE Senior Membership. As well as recognizing your performance and contribution to the profession in a tangible way, each new Senior Member receives an attractive fine wood and bronze engraved Senior Member plaque and a US$25.00 gift certificate toward one new Society membership. Who can become a Senior Member? Anyone with ten years in the profession (not 10 years of IEEE membership.) Your educational experience is counted towards this ten-year requirement. Other criteria are five years of significant performance and have three IEEE Senior Member or Fellow references. If you are nominated only two references are needed. Now it is even easier to become a Senior Member via the IEEE website. Details and application forms are obtained at

swww2.ieee.org/organizations/rab/md/smprogram.html

 

9. COORDINATOR NEEDED FOR GOLD AFFINITY GROUP

The Graduate Of the Last Decade (GOLD) activity is an initiative from IEEE to encourage greater participation of recent graduates in IEEE and electrical and electronic engineering professional activities more generally. GOLD groups around the world are involved in many activities ranging from liaison with the Student Branches to organizing conferences. More importantly GOLD is intended as a mechanism for change within IEEE. The NSW Section has embraced this approach and moved to form a GOLD affinity group. However, it needs a GOLD Co-ordinator. Anyone who has graduated in the last 10 years and is interested in being the Co-ordinator or more generally participating in the GOLD affinity group, please contact the Section Chairman, Trevor Bird, tel. 9372 4289, email ts.bird@ieee.org.

 

10. CALLING ALL MEMBERS OF CAS/SSC CHAPTER

The future of the NSW Chapter for Circuits & Systems / Solid State Circuits will be discussed at a meeting to be held at 12.30 pm on Thursday, 12 November at CSIRO Telecommunications & Industrial Physics, Cnr Vimiera & Pembroke Roads, Marsfield.  Members of both societies, and IEEE members in general, are welcome to attend.  A pizza lunch will be provided.  To register interest, please contact Ms Dallas Rolph, tel: 9372 4289, email: Dallas.Rolph@csiro.au, by 11 November.

 

11. VALE PROFESSOR LOU DAVIES LFIEEE

It is with regret we advise of the passing of Life Fellow Professor Louis Walter (Lou) Davies AO FAA FTSE FIEEE on 28 September. He was 78 years old. Professor Davies was Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales, and was formerly Chairman of Ludowici Ltd and Chief Scientist and Director of AWA Ltd. Prior to joining UNSW he was with CSIRO Division of Radiophysics. During World War II he served with the RAAF and in 1948 he was a NSW Rhodes Scholar. Professor Davies was known internationally for his pioneering work on semiconductor devices. He was elected a Fellow of IEEE in 1981 “for leadership of industrial and university solid-state electronics research” and was awarded an IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984. He served on the IEEE Fellow Committee from 1983 to 1986.

 

 

12. JOINT TECHNICAL MEETINGS FOR 2001-2 

All members are invited to attend the listed joint meetings with the I.E. Aust., ITEES and IEE. All meetings are held at 5.30 for 6.00 pm (with light refreshments) at the Institution of Engineers, Australia Lecture Theatre, 118 Alfred St., Eagle House, MILSONS POINT unless otherwise shown.

DATE SPONSOR SUBJECT SPEAKER
8-11-01                    UTMS – Universal Mobile Telephone System (3rd Generation)   Thomas Jubb
22-11-01   IEAust AGM – Forensic Engineering Richard Clarke
30-11-01   IEEE AGM  
14-02-02 IEEE Ensuring Robust Design of Electronic Circuits with 6 Sigma Stefan Mozar
28-02-02   Non-Line-of-Sight Wireless Local Loop Alan Sangster
14-03-02 IEEE Power Electronics for Power Quality TBA
28-03-02       TBA  
11-04-02    Virtual Surgery TBA
09-05-02   Powerformers TBA
23-05-02   Greenhouse & Emissions Trading - Implications for the Energy Industry Ben Kearney
13-06-02 IEEE Steel Lifting Magnets J. Rickard
13-06-02   Internet Security – Half Day Seminar R. Dixon Hughes
27-06-02   Modern Traffic Control TBA
11-07-02   Hybrid Electric/Petrol Vehicle TBA
25-07-02   Metropolitan Fibre Networks TBA
08-08-02   Steel Lift ing Magnets J. Rickard
22-08-02   Recovery from Power Plant Accidents – Half day Seminar George Fox
12-09-02 IEEE Microwave Topic TBA
26-09-02   Embedded Generation TBA
10-10-02   Intelligent Transport Systems TBA
24-10-02 IEEE Microwave Topic TBA
14-11-02   Repairable Systems Reliability – Analysis of Failures TBA
28-11-02   Reliability of Professional Engineers - & I.E. Aust. Electrical Branch AGM    
29-11-02   IEEE AGM  

 

13. INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

Information on the following Conferences can be obtained from Andrew Parfitt (Tel: 9372-4187)

  • 2001 Int. Workshop Register Transfer Level Test Generation & Testability Design NARA, JAPAN, 22-23 Nov.
  • 2nd IEEE-RAS Int. Conference  on Humanoid Robots Waseda Conf. Centre TOKYO, JAPAN, 22-24 Nov. 2001
  • IEEE 10th International Fuzzy Systems Conference, Melbourne University 25-28 Nov., 2001
  • 2001 International Conference on High Performance Computing Hyderabad INDIA, 17-20 Dec.
  • 2001 Pacific Rim Int. Symposium on Dependable Computing TEMF Hotel Seoul, KOREA, 17-19 Dec.
  • 2002 IEEE Int. Workshop – Electronic Design, Test & Application Christchurch NEW ZEALAND, 29-31 Jan.
  • 2002 IEEE/IEEJ Joint IAS Power Conversion Conference – Osaka Int. Conf. Centre JAPAN 2-5 April
  • 2002 International Underwater Technology Symposium The Sanno Hotel TOKYO JAPAN, 16-19 April
  • 2002 11th International Symposium on Electrets,  MONASH UNIVERSITY CLAYTON VIC., 2-4 Oct.
  • 2002 IEEE/PES Transmission and Distribution Conference YOKOHAMA, JAPAN 6-10 Oct.
  • GLOBECOM 2002 IEEE Global Telecommunications Conf Taipei Int Convention Centre TAIWAN, 18-22 Nov.
  • 2003 INTELEC-IEEE International Telecommunications Energy Conference YOKOHAMA , JAPAN 19-23 Oct.

 

14. DETAILS OF UPCOMING JOINT TECHNICAL MEETINGS

UNIVERSAL MOBILE TELEPHONE SYSTEM  (3rd Generation) Thursday, 8 November 2001

Speaker: Thomas Jubb is team leader of wireless instructors at Nortel Networks in the fields of Switching, GSM, CDMA and UMTS.

SYNOPSIS: The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation technology for mobile systems that have evolved from GSM (2nd Generation) and GPRS (2.5 generation). The new system has to cope with the explosive growth of data exchanges resulting from the expansion of the Internet and is expected to be capable of supporting multi-media applications like video-teleconferencing; high speed Internet; speech and high data rates (up to 2Mbps). The topics discussed will include:

  • WCDMA Radio interface principles
  • Quality of Service
  • UMTS architecture of Access Network and Core Network

FORENSIC ENGINEERING & IEAust AGM Thursday, 22 November 2001

Speaker: Richard Clarke has had twenty years of experience in health and safety at the University of Sydney and with the NSW Government. During a 10-year period he managed major investigations with WorkCover NSW as Chief Inspector including bringing matter to Court.

SYNOPSIS: Engineering investigation for legal purposes is a subject that many engineers only experience rarely, if at all, in their professional career. Little if any training is given to engineers in this area, yet engineers may be thrust into a forensic matter after an incident without notice or preparation. The talk will outline the techniques that can be used in an investigation for both litigants and defenders. It will also touch on the powers of government agencies in carrying out investigations and how to effectively work with other investigators.

ENSURING ROBUST DESIGN OF ELECTRONIC  CIRCUITS WITH THE AID OF SIX SIGMA  Thursday, 14 February 2002

Speaker: Stefan Mozar, General Manager of Covaris Pty. Ltd. a Sydney based technology consulting company which specializes in asset management, process capability improvement, reliability engineering & technology management.

SYNOPSIS: The presentation will briefly explain the need for design robustness and the penalties a non-robust design may incur. Design robustness deals with ensuring a circuit will perform well within specification, despite component tolerances. The interaction of component tolerances from components, which are all within specification, can cause major problems in production. Production staff find it difficult to find solutions to these problems, as all components are good and within their prescribed specification. Consequently non-robustness can cause substantial and costly interruptions to the design department. Applying six sigma and other statistical techniques can help substantially reduce surprises with design robustness. The methods presented were developed by the author in the Video Development laboratories of Philips in Singapore. These techniques will be illustrated with some practical examples.

NON-LINE-OF-SIGHT WIRELESS LOCAL LOOP (Fixed Wireless Broadband Access) Thursday, 28 February 2002

Speaker:  Allan Sangster is an Electrical Engineer who has worked in the Telecommunications and Building/Data Communications area for 40 years and been involved in Microwave radio installations since graduating from London University in 1963.  Recent involvements include membership of ACIF Committees (Australian Communications Industry Forum) writing standards for “End to End Network Performance” also “Call Charging and Billing Accuracy” and as a Member of the Independent Appeals Body ACIF.  Allan is also Chairman of the Electrical Branch, IE Aust. Sydney, an Accredited Certifier EPA Act NSW and member of CIRCEA (College of Investigative and Remedial Consulting Engineers of Australia).  His experience has covered 20 years with Telstra, 12 years consulting, 5 years building telephone company (Netex) to $60m p.a. and 3 years running a VoIP network.

SYNOPSIS: Growth in use of internet for surfing the net, large file transfers, streaming audio, video on demand and email, has promoted the need for high speed access to the internet.  Often the bottleneck in communications is the connection between the Home/Office and the Internet Service Provider. An overview is provided of a new microwave radio system which provides broadband Internet connection to Households, SOHO and SME, as an alternative to other methods such as ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscribers Line). The system may also be used to provide a telephone service to households by means of VoIP. The BWIF (Broadband Wireless Internet Forum) has developed a new MMDS (Multichannel Multipoint Distribution System) based on VOFDM (Vectored Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and providing for Non Line of Sight microwave radio communications in the 2GHz to 6GHz frequency band.  The 51 members of the BWIF include companies such as CISCO, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, National SemiConductor and Motorola.  The overview describes broad engineering principles and also the financial benefits of such a system.

 

15. A MESSAGE FROM IEEE PRESIDENT JOEL SNYDER

I'd like to tell you about an IEEE service that I've found to be invaluable in all aspects of my professional life. It's a selection of free email newsletters called "What's New @ IEEE."  http://www.ieee.org/whats-new. "What's New" provides the latest news on IEEE activities, industry trends, member benefits, career tips, and new IEEE products. There are 11 newsletters for engineers and other technology professionals. I subscribe to all of them, but you can select as many as you would like.

You can choose from the following "What's New @ IEEE" newsletters:

  • Circuits
  • Communications
  • Computing
  • Eye on Washington (USA)
  • Graduates of the Last Decade
  • Libraries
  • Members
  • Power
  • Signal Processing
  • Students
  • Wireless.

It's easy to subscribe or unsubscribe, so you control what information you receive. 

To subscribe, simply log on to http://www.ieee.org/whats-new. Then select one or more of the email newsletters, enter your email address and click "subscribe." Your email address will not be shared with anyone outside of IEEE.

I'm very pleased that IEEE has developed a service such as this. I encourage you to sign up for this free "What's New" email newsletter service and give it a try.

Sincerely, 

Joel Snyder

2001 IEEE President

 

16. THE FUN OF VOLUNTEERING: AN ALLEGORY

Panos E. Papamichalis

(Reprinted from IEEE Power Engineering Review, June 2001)

Tom was good as an engineer and researcher, and he knew it.  He was proud of his analytical and problem-solving abilities (under his façade of humility), and that is why he had chosen to focus on signal processing.  And, of course, he was quite ambitious.

Tom’s dream was to distinguish himself in his profession.  He enjoyed the technical part of his work, no question about it, but what would be wrong with combining this fun with some administration from his colleagues?  Take, for instance, the president of his Society.  The President’s Column usually bored him to death, but wouldn’t it be nice to have his picture in the magazine like the president?  Tom felt that it must be quite powerful to be president of the Society.  But how do you go about becoming more prominent in the eyes of your peers?

Tom’s break came.  He was approached by an officer of the local IEEE Section, who was looking for someone to spearhead the creation of a local Chapter of the Society.  That would certainly put the spotlight on him.  Just imagine, “cofounder of the local Chapter…”  And it would certainly look good on his resume.  Tom accepted immediately and started working hard.  He and his covolunteers had to do all sorts of things:  they had to contact IEEE for information and paperwork, approach other local Society members for signatures, and after securing the approval for the new Chapter, spend quite a long time making plans for the activities of the Chapter.  They had to invite speakers, prepare the announcements, and do the mailing.  When the presentation time came, they had to host the speakers and make sure that all the logistics were taken care of.

Tom was a proud man, and he worked diligently to make sure that everything was done properly.  Yes, his colleagues were coming to him now to ask questions, offer suggestions, volunteer, or even complain about the program.  This was the spotlight, right?

But Tom also started discovering some other interesting things. During the long hours of planning and work with his covolunteers, he developed friendships with some very nice people.  Before, he had some casual conversations with them, but now he was finding that they were wittier than he had thought;  they had some very interesting technical insights that occasionally raised his eyebrows;  and they gave him ideas on how to do his job more effectively.  When he attended the Society’s annual international conference, these colleagues introduced him to other people, sometimes famous authors of papers and books that he was using as references.  He hadn’t known about this perk of volunteering.

On occasion, he would come across someone on his volunteer team who did not deliver on his assignment, and Tom would have to carry some of that load too.  But, that’s life, he philosophised.

Tom was doing quite well.  It was a testimonial to his recognition when one of the more senior members in his Chapter asked him to join, as treasurer, a team organising a workshop of the Society.  He accepted.  And this brought Tom to another level.  Now, he had the opportunity to communicate with the Society staff and officers.  He had to interact with Society officials who needed information, as well as with workshop attendees who were asking for help.  It was his nature to be helpful to others, but he discovered an amazing reciprocity.  He found out that there were real people behind the names on paper who, just like him, were ready to share a joke or discuss a technical idea in a simple and friendly way.  And many of them already knew him by his first name.  The workshop was a big success both from technical and financial standpoints.  And people recognised Tom’s contribution.

So, it felt almost natural for Tom to propose to the Technical Committee the organisation of the next workshop.  It was an easy decision for the Technical Committee.  Tom had his team, and he was the leader.  But he did not really feel like a boss.  His team members were his friends, and it was a chance to have some more fun together.  Plus, it would be nice to have these distinguished researchers come to his workshop.  Of course, everything worked again like clockwork (it always does in made-up stories…).  Now, Tom addressed his distinguished colleagues in the plenary session and had lots of opportunities to chat with them.  It was a memorable event.

After the successful workshop was over, Tom was tired but quite pleased.  Anyone could see that he was distinguishing himself among his peers.  But, somehow, this did not mean as much to him as he had dreamed earlier.  He found out that something else was the source of much higher satisfaction.  The friendships he had established, the networking with colleagues, and the sense of contribution to his peers were a lot more valuable and meaningful to him now.

The president’s picture keeps appearing in the magazine, and the President’s Column is as boring as ever.  But now Tom knows.  The president probably does not have any more power than he does, but they both certainly share the same priceless reward: the fun of volunteering.

 

17. FAILURE OF THE U.S. RESTRUCTURED ELECTRICITY MARKETS

(The following brief report is reproduced from a recent Energex Bulletin) 

Restructured electricity markets have failed to provide lower power rates and improved service, making consumers much better off in states that have not deregulated, according to a report by the Consumer Federation of America. The report claims that individual electricity markets need at least twice as many power suppliers, up to 10 companies, as currently deemed sufficient to support competition. The reality of the current market is that firms raise prices to increase their profits because they do not lose enough sales to competitors. The report also says that utilities should be required to set aside more power reserves in case of supply emergencies. This would help keep the price for power from being bid up, because more supplies could quickly be brought on line. Reserve margins need to be well above traditional levels of 15% – 20%, perhaps as high as 40% to prevent the abuse of market power," the report said. In addition, the report says transmission power lines should be independent of all electricity generators' control and operated by entities whose sole purpose is to promote the public interest. Only a dramatic change in approach by federal and state policy-makers can offer consumers the possibility of lower prices and better service. Until the underlying problems in electricity market are addressed, the group recommends any state that has not deregulated or is in the process of doing so should slow those efforts or stop them altogether. The group also says federal authorities should declare a moratorium on utility mergers until market competition is firmly established. However, the Edison Electric Institute says that mergers help power companies cut costs that are ultimately passed on to consumers. Also, requiring utilities to have the large power reserve margins called for in the report would force companies to produce too much electricity they could not readily sell. The report listed several problems found in key deregulated states:

  • In California, wholesale power prices quadrupled and blackouts were a threat this summer after energy suppliers allegedly withheld electricity and manipulated prices.
  • In New York, summer rate hikes of 40% for Consolidated Edison's residential customers combined with threatened blackouts forced federal price caps, distribution of emergency diesel generators and conservation programs. 
  • In Pennsylvania, the end of temporary rate cuts and a rise in natural gas prices pushed up power prices and pushed out competitors. 
  • Twenty-two states are currently restructuring their electricity markets and consumers in early starters like Massachusetts and Montana have seen prices increase dramatically. Power blackouts this summer have been avoided not by relying on market forces, but by highly publicized energy conservation programs and a mild summer, according to the report.

 

 

W.R. Lachs

EDITOR

 

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