Author Archive: Cathy Kunkel

Energy Analyst Cathy Kunkel is an independent consultant with Kunkel Energy Research. She has testified before regulatory bodies and was a senior research associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She has undergraduate and master’s degrees in physics.

IEEFA op-ed: Latest Puerto Rico utility privatization plan is as flawed as the original

IEEFA op-ed: Latest Puerto Rico utility privatization plan is as flawed as the original

In its version of a bill to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the Puerto Rico legislature has improved some on Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s original proposal, but lawmakers are ultimately failing the Puerto Rican people every bit as badly as Rosselló has. We’ve criticized the governor’s original privatization proposal for essentially aiming to set […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Little Chance New Fiscal Recovery Plan for Puerto Rico’s Electric Company Will Succeed

A Weak Economy With Less Demand for Power Is Among the Many Risks

Customers of Puerto Rico’s bankrupt electric utility cannot afford to pay back the utility’s creditors over the next five years without jeopardizing much-needed investment in the rebuilding and resiliency of the island’s power grid. Nor can the utility continue to pay fossil fuel producers exorbitant amounts for oil, coal and gas. Those are the two […]

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

IEEFA Puerto Rico: Proposed Offshore Gas-Import Project Makes Less and Less Sense

Little Rationale for a Port Complex That Would Support the Status Quo

In shelving its review of the economic viability of a proposed natural gas import complex off the south coast of the island, the Puerto Rico Energy Commission last week took a policy step in the right direction. The Aguirre Offshore Gas Port (AOGP) would bring additional liquefied natural gas into the commonwealth for electricity generation, […]

IEEFA Op-Ed: Now Is Not the Time to Roll Back Oversight of Puerto Rico’s Power Company

A Looming Threat to Independent Regulatory Oversight

Members of Congress have rightly expressed concern over Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s incessant campaign to steamroll the Puerto Rico Energy Commission, the progressive regulatory body that is seeking responsible modernization of the island’s backward electricity system. Just last week, the Puerto Rico Senate approved a bill that contains the governor’s most recent plan to […]

March 21, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Op-Ed: Keeping Puerto Rico’s Electric Utility on a Short Leash Until It Proves Accountability

The Governor Should Step Aside Now and Let Proper Regulation Take Its Course

Power outages that swept the capital of San Juan last week serve as a sobering reminder of what Puerto Rico is up against as it struggles to rebuild its battered electricity grid. Almost 1 million people live in the area affected by the blackout, which is just the latest symptom of an electricity system in […]

IEEFA Update: Status-Quo Politics Imperil Public Confidence in Puerto Rico Grid Rebuild

Ill-Advised Efforts to Undermine Island's Key Electricity-Reform Regulator

While the reform-minded Puerto Rico Energy Commission has survived its latest assault by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, the governor still seems bent on the commission’s destruction. Earlier this month, Rosselló sought to consolidate the energy commission with four other regulatory agencies and eliminate its independence by having all members serve strictly at his pleasure. Puerto Rico […]

and February 28, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: Failed Coal-Plant Deal in West Virginia Is in Ratepayers’ Best Interest

IEEFA Update: Failed Coal-Plant Deal in West Virginia Is in Ratepayers’ Best Interest

Negligence on the Part of FirstEnergy and the State to Encourage Responsible Transition

As FirstEnergy prepares to either sell the Pleasants Power Station in West Virginia or deactivate it, the question now becomes whether the company and the state will come up with a good plan to help the local community through this transition. FirstEnergy’s decision on Pleasants comes after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected its proposal […]

February 22, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: A Case That Suggests Regulators Are Tiring of Campaigns to Bail Out Failing Power Plants

IEEFA Update: A Case That Suggests Regulators Are Tiring of Campaigns to Bail Out Failing Power Plants

FirstEnergy Throws in the Towel on Its Latest Play in West Virginia

It’s to the benefit of ratepayers that FirstEnergy this week announced that it will drop its scheme to transfer the Pleasants Power Station from deregulated subsidiary Allegheny Energy Supply to West Virginia regulated subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison. The move would have shielded the coal-fired Pleasants plant from market competition, forcing West Virginia ratepayers […]

February 8, 2018 Read More →

IEEFA Update: U.S. Coal Loses; Consumers Win

FERC Decision Acknowledges Practicalities Transforming Energy Markets

The coal industry came away with nothing last week when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected a Department of Energy proposal — pushed by the industry — to provide huge subsidies to coal-fired power plants in the United States. FERC protected the interests of consumers by standing in favor of market competition — […]

and January 19, 2018 Read More →
IEEFA Update: In Ruling Against Another Bailout Scheme by FirstEnergy, FERC Strikes a Blow Worth Hundreds of Millions for Ratepayers

IEEFA Update: In Ruling Against Another Bailout Scheme by FirstEnergy, FERC Strikes a Blow Worth Hundreds of Millions for Ratepayers

More Bad News for an Out-of-Step Electricity Company Struggling to Stave Off Bankruptcy

By rejecting a bailout maneuver last week in West Virginia by Ohio-based FirstEnergy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week ended up protecting Mon Power and Potomac Edison customers from incurring hundreds of millions of dollars of unnecessary costs over the next 15 years. FirstEnergy’s scheme would have transferred the Pleasants Power Station, which is […]

January 16, 2018 Read More →