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Posts During the Month

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USPS Slashes Rates, But Can it Handle the Surge?

Spend Matters

Spend Matters welcomes another guest post from Jim Haller, program director of transportation services at NPI, a spend management consultancy, focused on eliminating overspending on IT, telecom and shipping.
It’s no secret that the United States Postal Service has been on a mission to grow its parcel business. But the rate cuts that went into effect on Sept. 7 may be one of its most aggressive moves yet. The pricing changes affect two Priority Mail offerings – Commercial Base and Commercial Plus – and spotlight USPS’s increasing focus on attracting large e-commerce customers. For customers shipping at least 50,000 parcels a year, price cuts could be more than 50 percent.
As one would expect, UPS and FedEx are none too happy, especially after they’ve just announced they will charge shippers by dimensional weight for all package sizes come 2015. Documents filed by UPS and FedEx with the Postal Regulatory Commission claim the USPS is using its…

ERCOT: Fall will be a breeze, but extreme winter could be a challenge

Dallas Business Journal

Nicholas Sakelaris, Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal

Texas’ electric grid weathered a relatively mild summer, and forecasts for the fall show the state will have more than enough power to meet demand, even with power plants going offline for maintenance.
But winter could get dicey again if extreme cold sends demand up and shuts power plants down.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas released its projections for the fall and winter seasons Monday. The Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report shows ERCOT having more than…

Traders Profit as Power Grid Is Overworked

New York Times

By JULIE CRESWELL and ROBERT GEBELOFF

PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. — By 10 a.m. the heat was closing in on the North Shore of Long Island. But 300 miles down the seaboard, at an obscure investment company near Washington, the forecast pointed to something else: profit.
As the temperatures climbed toward the 90s here and air-conditioners turned on, the electric grid struggled to meet the demand. By midafternoon, the wholesale price of electricity had jumped nearly 550 percent.
What no one here knew that day, May 30, 2013, was that the investment company, DC Energy, was reaping rewards from the swelter. Within 48 hours the firm, based in Vienna, Va., had made more than $1.5 million by cashing in on so-called congestion contracts, complex financial instruments that…

Donna Nelson wants to keep ERCOT control in Austin, not D.C.

Dallas Business Journal

by Nicholas Sakelaris, Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal

The Texas electrical grid is controlled in Austin. Not by the Federal Regulatory Commission or by environmentalists in Washington D.C., Donna Nelson, chairwoman of the Texas Public Utility Commission, said at the Greater Dallas Planning Council luncheon Thursday.
And she added that she wants to keep it that way.
Much of the concern over the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide regulations centers on how it could affect coal plants— either shutting them down completely or…

In Texas Even Energy Transmission is Bigger, $7 Billion Bigger

MetalMiner

by Stuart Burns

China has been admired for its massive electricity infrastructure projects, especially by the metals producing industries that do handsome business selling the the steel, aluminum and copper that is needed for the construction of thousands of miles of transmission lines.
China’s largest grid operator, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), said last week that energy authorities might soon approve a plan to build 12 electricity transmission lines linking the coal production and hydropower centers in inland areas such as Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan to the densely populated east, including cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The total investment is said to be more than 210 billion yuan ($34 billion), and the 12 major projects include four ultra-high-voltage alternating current (UHV AC) power transmission lines, five UHV direct current (DC) lines and…

MISO tariff tweak to boost flows to and from South Region from Thursday 7-17-2014

Houston (Platts)

A new $9.57/MW hurdle rate will be implemented Thursday under tariff language to be filed Wednesday by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator that would allow more power to flow between MISO’s North/Central regions and its South Region.
MISO spokeswoman Jennifer June Lay said in an email Wednesday that MISO plans to file a US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission tariff revision Wednesday to modify demand curves associated with MISO’s Sub-Regional Power Balance Constraints, which have limited flows between the North/Central regions and…