PJM/Allegheny Energy Joined at the Hip

Here is some ancient history that shows clearly the strategic alliance between Allegheny Energy, and its push for big transmission projects, and PJM.  It is a press release put out jointly by PJM and Allegheny in 2001.

The press release is about the creation of something called “PJM West” which would:

develop a new electric transmission system affiliation which will expand the Mid-Atlantic energy market. Customers in the region will benefit from the expanded energy market and enhancements to the transmission system’s reliability. Through this affiliation, PJM will expand its regional scope and demonstrate the ability of its energy market and congestion management systems to function over multiple control areas and under multiple Regional Reliability Council reliability standards. The PJM West arrangement is open to, and structured to accommodate, additional energy delivery participants.

Way back in 2001.  This was when Allegheny Energy CEO Paul Evanson had a vision (delusion?) of turning Allegheny into another Enron.  Except just a few months before this press release, Enron had imploded.  Enron had also demonstrated in California why it’s not such a good idea to use “energy markets” to manage your electrical system.  The publicly released emails between 25 year old Enron traders joking about shutting off elderly people’s electricity to make a few more bucks was not good press for the “free market” deregulators.

By 2003, Evanson’s delusions of turning Allegheny into a big energy trader moving power long distances over shiny new transmission lines had already collapsed.  Allegheny was saddled with massive debt from which it never really recovered.  While Evanson continued to collect his big paychecks, Allegheny was starved of capital to improve service and maintain rights of way.

By 2005, PJM West, now headed by Karl Pfirrmann, formerly of Allegheny Energy, was pushing Project Mountaineer, supported by the Cheney administration and the Republican Chairman of FERC.  The death of PATH has brought this whole sorry era to a close.  Thank goodness.