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Electricity Production and Sale


About 30% of all fossil fuel consumed in the United States is used to make electricity. Conversely, most electricity, about 70%, produced in the US is generated using fossil fuels, especially coal. Typically, the coal from one or more mines is transported by railroad or barge to a steam generating plant. Turbine generators utilize the steam to generate electricity at high voltage. This electricity is transformed (by a transformer) to a higher voltage for transmission over a power network to industrial, commercial and residential users. Near the users it is transformed again, down to a low voltage, where it is distributed to the users via the familiar distribution system of poles and overhead wires.

Electricity is distributed by 3 kinds of utilities -- investor owned, municipal and cooperative. Many IOUs and municipals generate some of the electricity they sell. Electricity is also generated by "generation and transmission (G&T)" coops that are owned by groups of distribution coops. Power is also generated by the federal government, especially from dams, and by an increasing number of independent power producers. Since deregulation began in 1992, a number of independent power marketing firms have emerged as well.

Trade Associations:

Investor owned utilities: Edison Electric Institute
Municipal government utilities: American Public Power Association
Rural electric cooperatives: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Independent power producers: Electric Power Supply Association
Power marketers: Power Marketing Association
Electrical equipment manufacturers: National Electrical Manufacturers Association
Power plant boiler makers: American Boiler Manufacturing Association.
Electric power engineers: Power Engineering Society

Yahoo! Electric utility industry links web sites:

Electric utilities
Construction companies: power plants and transmission facilities
Electric power engineering companies


Electricity sales to and between investor owned utilities are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Most electric power sales to consumers are regulated by the states. See National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Government information:

Department of Energy:
1. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
2. Energy Information Administration (home page)
3. Office of Fossil Energy

Trade periodicals:

Competitive Utility -- policy analysis.
Electricity Daily -- general news.
Electricity Journal -- policy analysis.
Power Engineering -- construction, operation and maintenance of power plants. Free to qualified readers.
Energy Marketing -- buying and selling electricity. Free to qualified readers.
Electric Light and Power -- general news, some technical. Free to qualified readers.
Independent Energy -- independent power projects and related developments. Free to qualified readers.

Other sources:

Alternative Energy Institute promotes solar and wind power.
Electric Power Research Institute conducts contract research for utilities, but has some public information.
IEEE Power Engineering Society - conference schedules and programs, FAQs, technical committee information, paper submittal instructions and more.
Institute of Power Engineers - Canadian Association of Power Engineers, founded in 1940.
National Association of Power Engineers - dedicated to the continuing education of its members.
North American Electric Reliability Council
is a voluntary organization, primarily of investor owned utilities, that works to maintain reliable electric power in the US and Canada.
Virtual tour of a coal-fired electric power
plant by Virginia Electric Power Company.

Sample firms:

AEP Generating Co operates a huge coal-fired power plant in Rockport IN. AEP Gen is a subsidiary of Ohio-based American Electric Power Co, or AEP, one of the largest investor owned utility holding companies in the US. Most generating is from coal.AEP hopes to merge with Texas-based Central & South West Corp.
AES Corp is the world's largest independent power producer, with interests in 111 plants world wide, some of which burn gas, but most of which burn coal.
Air Products & Chemicals Co is a chemical company that also operates power plants.
Alabama Power Co is a subsidiary of Atlanta GA's Southern Company, another very large investor owned utility holding comapny. Other Southern subsidiaries include Georgia Power Co, Gulf Power Co, Mississippi Power Co, Savannah Elec & Power Co. Most generating is from coal.
Alaska Power Administration is a federal agency that sells power from US dams to 5 Alaska community municipal utilities.
Alaska Village Electric Cooperative serves 49 communities across Alaska with small deisel generating stations.
Allegheny Power Co is a large utility holding company based in Hagerstown MD. Most generating is from coal.
American Municipal Power - Ohio Inc buys and generates power for 75 municipal utilities in Ohio. Most generating is from coal.
Most generating is from coal.
Arizona Electric Power Cooperative Inc generates power for 7 distribution coops.
Arizona Public Service Co serves Phoenix and the surrounding area. It has coal, gas, oil and nuclear plants, including one of the earliest commercial combined cycle plants in the US.
Arkansas Electric Coop Corp is co-owner of several plants burning sub-bituminous coal.
Ashland Dept of Electric Utilities is a small Oregon municipal utility with about 8,000 customers.
Aspen Electric Dept serves the resort town in CO, with about 2,500 customers.
Associated Electric Coop Inc operates two very large coal plants in MO.
Baltimore Gas & Electric Co is one of the oldest utilities in the US.
Basin Electric Power Coop Inc is a huge generating coop based in ND. It burns mostly coal, including lignite.
Bonneville Power Administration sells power from US dams on the Columbia River. It is the second largest generator in the country.
Calpine Corp is a major independent power producer that may become a utility.
Carolina Power & Light Co serves eastern North Carolina. Most of its power is from coal, oil and nuclear generators.
Central & South West Corp is a large utility holding company in Dallas TX, that burns mostly natural gas to make electricily. CSW hopes to merge with American Electric Power .
Central Electric Power Cooperative, MO generates power from coal for 8 rural coops.
Central Hudson Gas & Elec is a small utility in New York with about 250,000 customers.
Chelan PUD No 1, a Public Utility District in WA, generates hydroelectric power.
Cinergy came from the merger of Cincinnati G&E and PSI Energy Inc. Almost all of their power comes from coal.
Commonwealth Edison Co in Chicago has more nuclear plants than any other US utility, but it also burns a lot of coal.
Consolidated Edison Co, one of the many utilities named after Thomas Edison, is New York City's utility, where Edison built his first power plant. CE burns mostly oil and gas.
Cooperative Power Association, MN, part of Great River Energy is a coop and co-owner of a large lignite plant in ND. Starting January 1, 1999, Great River Energy combined the operations of two Minnesota generation and transmission cooperatives--Cooperative Power and United Power Association.
Dairyland Power Coop based in WI serves 28 member coops and burns mostly coal.
Deseret Generation & Transmission Cooperative, UT is a small coal-burning G&T coop.
Duke Energy is the global independent power subsidiary of huge Duke Power Co in NC.
Duquesne Light Co is Pittsburgh PA's utility. Its name is from the early French Fort Duquesne, built where Pittsburgh now stands and captured by General Braddock.
East Kentucky Power Coop Inc burns low cost Kentucky coal.
Enron International is a global power producer.
Entergy Corp is a large holding company in New Orleans. Many of its plants burn gas.
Fitchburg Gas & Elec Co is a small MA utility which, like many smaller electric companies, owns a share in several power plants operated by larger utilities.
Florida Keys Electric Coop Assn Inc is a small coop serving the islands. It generates some power using its own deisels, but buys most of it from Florida Power & Light.
Florida Power & Light Co is the fourth largest private power generator in the US.
Fox Islands Electric Cooperative, ME is a tiny island coop with just 1,500 customers.
Gainesville Regional Util like many FL municipals, generates much of its own electricity.
General Public Utilities Corp (GPU) is a New Jersey based holding company. It has sold off all its generating capacity, including the ill-fated Three Mile Island nuclear plant.
Green Mountain Power Corp is a small VT utility that even burns wood.
Hawaiian Electric Co burns gas and oil, but also buys power from local food processors.
Hetch Hetchy Water & Power generates hydorpower in CA for 19 industrial and municipal customers.
Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, IN is a large G&T that burns coal.
Houston Lighting & Power burns natural gas and lignite.
Illinois Power Co burns coal, gas and oil, sometimes all together.
Indiana Municipal Power Agency ownes 25% of a coal plant and represents 31 municipals.
Jacksonville Electric Auth is one of several large municipals in FL. It burns oil and gas.
Kansas City Board of Public Utilities is a municipal utility in Kansas City KS.
Kansas City Power & Light is a private utility across the river in Kansas City MO.
Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, KS owns just 6% of a nuclear power plant.
Lincoln Electric System is a municipal in NE, the one state that has no private utilities.
Los Angeles Dept Water & Power is the largest municipal utility in the US.
Lower Colorado River Auth operates dams and coal plants in TX.
Maine Public Service Co is a small utility with about 33,000 customers in 16 towns.
Michigan Public Power Agency has a small interest in several coal plants for 18 municipals.
Minnesota Power & Light serves 100,000 customers in northern MN. Burns mostly coal.
Minnkota Power Coop Inc is a meduim sized G&T in ND that burns mostly coal.
Mississippi Power Co, a subsidiary of the Southern Company, and burns oil, gas and coal.
Missouri Basin Muni Power Agency, SD (now Missouri River Energy Services) represents 58 municipals in four states -- IA, MN, ND & SD.
Montana Power Co is selling off all its generating capacity, mostly hydro and coal.
Municipal Elec Authority of Georgia owns part of several nuclear and coal plants for 47 municipal utilities throughout the state.
Nebraska Public Power Agency serves a lot of small towns and burns mostly coal.
Nevada Power Co, the largest utility in the state, burns some gas but mostly coal.
New England Electric System is a holding company in MA. Plants burn both oil and coal.
New York State Elec & Gas sold all its coal burning plants to the AES Co.
North Attelborough Elec Dept in MA has 10,000 customers. Generates some power itself.
North Carolina Electric Membership Corp is a large G&T with 28 member coops.
Oglethorpe Power Corp owns parts of several large coal and nuclear plants in Georgia. It is a G&T coop with 39 member distribution coops.
Ohio Edison Co operates many large coal-fired plants, some built in the 1950's and 60's.
Oklahoma Gas & Elec Co is the largest utility in the state. It burns gas, oil and coal.
Orlando Utilities Comm is a FL municipal that generates most of its own electricity.
Otter Tail Power Co, based in Fergus Falls MN, also serves much of ND.
Owensboro Municipal Utilities operates a big coal-fired municipal plant in KY.
Pacific Gas & Elec Co serves northern CA. As part of industry restructuring in the state it sold off its fossil fueled plants, but bought plants in other states.
PacifiCorp, based in OR, has small patches of territory and plants across the Northwest US.
Pasadena Water & Power Dept is a CA municipal with several fossil fuel plants.
PECO Energy Co used to be the Philadelphia Electric Co. It has large coal, oil and nuclear power plants, and 1,500,000 customers.
Piqua Municipal Power is a small municipal generator in OH, with 10,000 customers.
Plains Electric G&T Cooperative, NM generates most of its power and burns mostly coal.
Potomac Electric Power Co serves the nation's capital by burning mostly coal and some oil.
Rural Electric Co, Inc, WY is a distribution coop with just 6,000 customers spread over 9 counties and 3 states.
Sacramento Municipal Utility Dist in CA is called "SMUD" and has 2 geothermal plants.
Salt River Project is a huge irrigation and rural power system in AZ, that burns mostly coal.
Seattle City Light in WA is one of the largest municipals in the US.
Sierra Pacific Power Co serves Reno NV with gas, oil and coal fired power.
Snohomish PUD in Everett WA owns 8% of a large coal-fired plant.
Southern California Edison Co is one of the largest investor owned utilities in the US.
Southern Company is a huge holding company based in Atlanta GA. Burns mostly coal.
Sunflower Electric Power Coop based in Hays KS, burns coal, oil and gas.
Springfield (Missouri) City Utilities serves the City & Greene County and burns mostly coal.
Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative is the only electric coop in NJ. Serves 10,000 customers.
Tennessee Valley Authority is the largest power generator in the US. Established by the federal government in the 1930's, TVA has some of the largest coal plants in the world.
Texas Utilities Electric Co serves over 2,000,000 customers, by burning gas and lignite. TU is the largest private generator in the US.
Tri-State Generation & Transmission Coop serves 24 members CO, NE & WY. Burns coal.
Tucson Electric Power Co wants to swap its power plants for Arizona Public Service Co's high voltage transmission system.
United Illuminating Co, based in New Haven CT, burns gas and coal.
US Army Corps of Engineers operates many federal dams that produce power.
US Bureau of Reclamation operates federal power dams in the western US.
U.S. Generating Co is a major independent power producer based in MD.
Virginia Power is one of the largest investor owned utilities in the US. Burns mostly coal.
Wabash Valley Power Association, IN is a G&T but buys almost all of its power.
Washington Water Power Co Acquired by Avista -- has large hydro plants but also burns gas and coal.
West Texas Utilities Co is a subsidiary of Central & South West Corp and burns oil & gas.
Western Area Power Administration is a federal agency that sell power from federal dams.
Wisconsin Electric Power Co, Wisconsin Power & Light Co and Wisconsin Public Service are the three largest utilities in WI. All burn mostly coal, but have many small hydro plants.
Wyoming Municipal Power Agency has 9 members and 1.3% of a large coal-fired plant.
Y.W. Electric Association Inc and Yampa Valley Electric Association are rural coops in CO.
Yankee Atomic Elec Co owns a small nuclear plant built in 1960.

Some Canadian utilities:

Canada has a lot of hydropower, but also burns coal, oil and gas.

Alberta Power Ltd Alberta Power Limited, a member of the ATCO group of companies, is an investor-owned utility that provides electric energy services to customers in Alberta, Canada.
BC Hydro
Calgary Electric System
Cochrane Public Utilities Commission
Edmonton Power
Great Lakes Power Ltd
Halton Hills Hydro
Hydro Mississauga
Lethbridge Power January 2000 update: They have moved but aren't running the site yet.
Manitoba Hydro
Newfoundland Power
Ontario Hydro
Toronto Hydro
TransAlta Utilities
Vaughan Hydro-Electric Commission
Waterloo North Hydro
West Kootenay Power
Woodstock Public Utilities Commission

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