The Competition for Supply & Demand Reduction

In Volume 11 of The ReeSource, I discussed changes that were occurring in the energy industry as a result of deregulation. At that time, electric utilities were in a period of transition from the traditional arrangement where they were each the only supplier of electricity to customers within their specific geographic regions to one where they would have to compete with other utility companies. The transition period has now passed, and open competition for the supply of electricity is a reality. Meanwhile, the growing interest in energy efficiency his driven the passage of new laws in a number of states... Read More

Rules & (De)Regulations

As the debate over global warming and energy usage grows and the building industry increasingly turns toward ‘green’ approaches to design and construction, cost-benefit analyses of alternative building methods have become more significant. Because the cost of energy is a critical component in most of these studies, it is important to consider the impact that the deregulation of the electric and natural gas industries can have on that cost. “In an attempt to encourage innovation and free-market competition, the federal government began the process of utility deregulation in 1978…” The natural gas and electric industries are similarly structured in that... Read More

Whose Fault is it? Understanding Arc Faults

Most people realize that a building’s electrical system can cause a fire if misused or wired improperly. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that annually more than 10% of all household fires are related to electrical systems. Nationwide, this is over 40,000 fires a year. The CPSC estimates that of electrical system related fires, half are caused by “arcs” within a building’s wiring. As defined by General Electric, an arc is an unintentional electrical discharge, characterized by low and erratic current, that may ignite combustible materials. The heat and/or sparks that are associated with this discharge are often... Read More