WAPA offers Cooling Tip Sheet, bill stuffer

Just in time for the hot summer months, Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) has released its 2015 Tip Sheet: Cooling System Maintenance and accompanying bill stuffer for use by electric utilities. The files, available for download below, are ready to be imprinted with your utility or city logo and given to customers.

According to WAPA, both handouts break down the simple steps that keep air conditioners humming efficiently and offer operating tips to make sure a owning cooling system is not like fighting an uphill battle. The tip sheet makes a great handout for customer education events while the bill stuffer provides similar information in a perfect size to fit into a business envelope.

If needed, send WAPA Energy Services an electronic version of your logo and they’ll create the template for you.

Tip Sheet: Cooling System Maintenance (PDF)

Cooling System Maintenance Bill Stuffer (PDF)

Public Power Risk Management Act is re-introduced in House, Senate

By Jeannine Anderson, News Editor, American Public Power Association
From the April 30, 2015 issue of Public Power Daily

The Public Power Risk Management Act, which passed the House unanimously in the 113th Congress but found itself stranded in the Senate, was re-introduced on April 28 in both chambers of Congress. The legislation is strongly supported by the American Public Power Association.

U.S. Reps. Doug LaMalfa R-California, and Jim Costa, D-California, re-introduced the bill in the House as H.R. 2041. Sens. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, and Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, re-introduced it as S. 1111 in the Senate.

The bill would allow public power utilities to enter swaps used to hedge commercial operations risks with non-financial entities such as regional utilities, natural gas distributors, and independent power generators — and not just big banks, large energy dealers, and other “swap dealers.” It would codify recent changes adopted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

The legislation is substantively the same as H.R. 1038 and S. 1802, the House and Senate versions of the Public Power Risk Management Act of 2013. H.R. 1038 passed the House on a vote of 423-0 in 2013. The Senate bill had 15 bipartisan cosponsors, but failed to advance during an end-of-session logjam in December 2014.

Heartland Power District8 web

After meeting with members of Heartland’s board and staff in March of 2014, U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) signed on as a co-sponsor of the Public Power Risk Management Act. Senator Thune is in the center in a blue tie.

“The CFTC appropriately and responsibly amended its rules to address this issue in 2014,” APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly said in an April 28 press release. “Introduction of the Public Power Risk Management Act today is a welcome step toward ensuring that this relief is permanent.”

The Public Power Risk Management Act of 2015 includes some clarifications and simplifications to more closely align the legislation with regulations adopted by the CFTC. One substantive change to the bill would allow the CFTC to refine the types of transactions that can qualify for the relief.

“It’s essential that public power utilities maintain access to swaps in order to keep power affordable,” APPA’s Kelly said last December.

Public Power Consultants Forum

Learn about leading economic development issues, strategies and best practices while networking with peers from across the country at the inaugural Public Power Consultants Forum from Area Development in conjunction with the American Public Power Association (APPA). The new annual event will feature expert presentations and roundtable discussions on drivers of the site selection process, business retention and attraction strategies, growth industries, and guidance on how utilities can work with economic developers and businesses.

The lineup includes:

Current Landscape of Industrial Site Selection
Brad Migdal, Executive Manager and Director, Industrial Site Selection & Business Incentives, Transwestern

Economic Development and Energy Incentive Program Trends
John Wolfram, Founder/CEO, Catalyst Consulting

Winning Community/Utility Strategies in the Business Attraction Hunt
Thomas Stringer, Principal, Credits & Incentives, Ryan LLC

Successful Retention and Attraction in the Country’s Most Active Sectors
Michael McDermott, Consulting Manager, Global Consulting Group, Cushman & Wakefield

Opportunities for Economic Development in Today’s Automotive Industry
Dennis Cuneo, Managing Director, Fisher & Phillips

Food Processors: How They Make Their Site Selections
David Sours, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate Services Food Facilities, CBRE

Data Centers 101: Trends and Site Selection Considerations
Neale Rath, Manager, Global Expansion Optimization, Deloitte Consulting; and Tennessee Valley Authority representative

Rural Outsourcing: Swapping Mumbai for Mobile
Monty Hamilton, CEO, Rural Sourcing Inc.

The Competitive Workforce: Thing Global, but it’s Really Local
Jones Lang LaSalle (speaker TBA)

Anatomy of a Deal: How it Gets Done Right
Panel Discussion

The forum is designed to educate public power utility economic developers, CEOs and executive leadership–as well as the policymakers, community officials and state/regional economic developers they work with–on success strategies and best practices in economic development.

For more information, visit the Area Development website or contact Heidi Lambert, APPA’s Director of Education at 202-467-2921 or HLambert@PublicPower.org.

Energy efficiency for residential and small business customers, courtesy APPA

Public power utilities can bulk order two energy efficiency booklets from American Public Power Association for distribution to their customers.  Available at the APPA Product StoreEnergy Matters for Your Home and Energy Matters for Your Small Business are available at HALF PRICE for APPA members, including Heartland customers.

Energy Matters for Your Home provides residential customers with practical, energy and cost-saving advice. Written with public power customers in mind, this publication is perfect for large-scale distribution to your customers. Along with top tips for saving energy, the booklet highlights key areas, including home weatherization, heating and cooling, lighting and appliances. The booklet also contains references to other resources that your customers can access to obtain additional energy-efficiency information.

Energy Matters for Your Small Business is filled with useful, easy-to-digest information, including top tips for saving energy, understanding energy use, weatherization, lighting, HVAC, office equipment and much more. Whether it is a small office or complex operation, this publication will show your small business customers the benefits of energy management. It is in your utility’s best interests to ensure the long-term viability of small business owners in your community by encouraging energy-efficient and cost-saving practices.

Credit implications of EPA’s proposed rule on carbon emissions are mostly longer term, rating agencies say

By Robert Varela. This article originally appeared in the June 16, 2014 issue of APPA’s Public Power Daily.

The three major credit rating agencies had similar but somewhat different reactions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon emission rule for existing power plants. All fossil-fuel-fired generation “is exposed to increasingly stringent environmental mandates and steadily rising compliance costs,” Moody’s Investors Service said. Implementation of the proposed rule for existing plants is likely to span years, “and we expect a highly contentious period of litigation,” Moody’s said. “Since these rules won’t apply until 2016, there is no immediate impact on credit quality,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Jeffrey Panger.

The proposed rule “will accelerate the decline of coal as a fuel source, possibly putting pressure on the grid, which could hurt reliability,” S&P said. “While we consider the targeted goals achievable, we expect they will also place more pressure on electricity prices for end users and there is a chance the regulations could revive the ‘cap and trade’ concept.” The proposed rule’s mandates “were somewhat ambitious, particularly since states must file their initial implementation plans by June 2016,” S&P added.

Fitch Ratings said the rules “are unlikely to have short-term effects on investor-owned utilities, independent power producers, and public power issuers and appear to alleviate earlier concerns about plant-specific emission standards.” Over the long run, “the impact on issuers will vary as final limits are adopted and states draft and implement compliance plans,” Fitch said.

All three rating agencies agreed that generators (including public power utilities and cooperatives) that rely most on coal will be most at risk, while generators with low carbon dioxide output are the obvious beneficiaries.

Standard & Poor’s said “it’s too early to assess how the proposed rule will influence the credit quality of and ultimately the ratings on U.S. power producers,” but the rule could have credit implications for some over several years.

The proposed rule “is credit negative for coal-dependent power projects, merchant power generators and utilities because, if enacted, the rule will likely result in reduced power volumes and cash flows despite higher power prices,” Moody’s said. The proposed rule “is not yet a game changer,” as litigation and fuel-switching to natural gas will soften the impact, Moody’s said.

Using the EPA’s general assumptions of a cost of $12 – $17 per ton of carbon, “we think it’s possible that the proposal could result in incremental generating costs of approximately $5 – $10 per megawatt for coal-fired generating plants,” Moody’s said. The combination of low natural gas prices and increasingly stringent environmental mandates “will contribute to the retirement of approximately 60,000 megawatts of coal-fired generating capacity between 2010 and 2017.”

The tighter rules on carbon emissions “will lead to some increase in nuclear plant construction,” although natural gas will still be the main option for new generation, S&P said. However, utilities value fuel diversity and “changes to plant designs mean that credit risk isn’t as great as it might otherwise be for those who choose the nuclear route,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Judith Waite.