Competitive Assets Associates
Denise Stokes, Ph.D.
Dr. Denise Stokes is an independent consultant whose primary expertise is government and policy issues related to the electric utility industry in Texas. She founded her consulting business, Competitive Assets LLC in 1997. Dr. Stokes has been involved in the electric utility industry in various capacities for over 34 years. While developing the in-depth knowledge of this industry that only direct experience can bring, she has demonstrated her ability to see how the bigger picture both informs and is affected by significant details. In addition to actively managing the Competitive Assets consulting and information services, she also consults directly with clients about electric utility matters. She maintains her current and comprehensive knowledge of the industry by monitoring many proceedings at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), and Texas Legislature, as well as performing research and other tasks for clients needing government agency information or organizational help.
Competitive Assets LLC offers three paid subscription monitoring services for the Texas Electric Industry: ERCOT Monitor Reports, Texas Electric Watch, and Texas Electric Policy News. The reports for these news services are sent out by email and have a broad readership from across the industry, including generators, retail electric providers, transmission and distribution providers, municipal utilities, cooperatives, trade associations, assistants to Texas legislators, ERCOT, the PUCT, the FERC, and consumer advocates. These news services and other special reports that Competitive Assets publishes are relied upon by the various industry participants to help them remain current on the policy events that continually shape the dynamic Texas electric market. Competitive Assets also offers a free news service at www.TexasElectricNews.com.
Prior to her work with Competitive Assets, Dr. Stokes served in a variety of positions at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). During the final two years of her 10 years with the Commission, while holding the position of Chief Policy Analyst, she advised each of the Commissioners on electric policy matters in contested cases and rulemakings. She also held positions in Rate Design and Economic Analysis while at the PUCT. Prior to her employment at the PUCT, she worked as an electric utility consultant with Planergy, Inc., and also performed independent consulting assignments.
Dr. Stokes holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from the University of Texas at Austin. Her doctoral dissertation was on Energy Planning, Electric Utility Regulation, and Social Research. She lives and works off the electric grid on her ranch in Red Rock, Texas.
Independent Consultants, Contract Associates
Margarita Fournier, M.P.A.
Margarita Fournier has been an independent consultant since 2003, and is Competitive Assets’ expert in Wholesale Market Design. In addition to assisting clients on issues related to wholesale market design, such as generation adequacy and nodal market issues, she is the primary author of CA’s reports on these topics. Her expertise extends significantly beyond the wholesale market, as she has been a key participant in Transmission and Distribution Company stranded cost issues and tariff issues, PUCT consumer protection rules, and Retail Electric Provider credit issues. Her advice and assistance to CA clients has made it possible for many of them to readily understand complex issues that affect them without dedicating the extensive time needed to study them carefully.
Prior to her work with CA, Ms. Fournier was Chief Economic and Policy Analyst with the Public Utility Commission of Texas for over 6 years. In that capacity she advised Commissioners on the electric industry decisions before them. Ms. Fournier also has extensive experience working in both the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, as well as in operating an international trading company. Because of her prior work experience, Ms. Fournier has extensive contacts in the Texas Legislature and at the PUCT. This government experience along with her attendance at ERCOT’s Texas Nodal Team (TNT) meetings has also given her an extensive network of market participant contacts who work in the private sector.
Ms. Fournier has Bachelor of Arts and Master of Public Affairs degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Neil’s experience is diverse, reaching across a broad range of disciplines including product design and offerings, energy, legislative and regulatory environs, technology, market models and business process engineering. He is a domain professional in the areas of smart energy services and technologies, demand response and energy efficiency, business processes, market-driven enterprises, regulatory and market designs; developing solutions and services that provide business process integration and support across markets and platforms.
He founded the only non-profit association in Texas specifically to create a forum for Texas energy market participants to discuss, develop and promote market issues, solutions and resolutions. Recognized as TEAM (Texas Energy Association for Marketers) in the industry, the association continues today following the mission established as being multi-faceted across all market, regulatory and legislative sectors with an emphasis on promoting continued market development and initiatives beneficial to both the market and the energy consumer.
As an entrepreneur, Neil co-founded the first competitive energy market clearing house for data management within the continental United States. As part of the design and business model, he was responsible for delivering technical and business solutions that extended the functionality of client technologies and business operations.
With an implementation portfolio of over 21 markets, natural gas and electric, including numerous client delivery and oversight functions, his understanding of markets and operational demands is unsurpassed. Neil continues to be an actively engaged in energy, tracking and monitoring market and technology developments in various competitive U.S markets incorporating his knowledge and insight into market strategies and developments that encompass and promote competitive retail products, services and smart energy solutions.
Kit Pevoto, M.S.
Ms. Pevoto brings to Competitive Assets a diversity of experience and knowledge in electric utility operation and regulatory analyses. Her eleven years of experience at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in cost allocation, cost unbundling, and pricing analyses as well as expert witness testimony in many electric utility cases allows her to offer our clients a comprehensive foundation of utility cost allocation, cost unbundling, and pricing practices in Texas. Her knowledge of utility cost of service, cost allocation, cost unbundling, rate design, and the implementation of utility tariffs in Texas, form the basis of her ability to analyze restructuring issues in the emerging competitive utility markets. She applies her analytical and research skills to help make Competitive Assets’ information products and services of the highest quality.
Ms. Pevoto received her Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington. During her two years at UT Arlington, Ms. Pevoto concentrated her study on electrical power systems under the supervision of Dr. Mo-Shen Chen. In particular, she studied issues related to the improvement of the performance of a transmission system by using static var capacitors. After completing her graduate study, she began working on a federally-funded project to study the benefits of the integration of the transmission systems in Texas for the PUCT. The work she has done during her graduate study and on the project proved to be a valuable foundation for her to work on the development of transmission access and pricing rules for Texas wholesale electricity market in 1997. The rules allowed for equal and open access of Texas ERCOT transmission system to all wholesale customers. The transmission rules also implemented a postage stamp pricing system for transmission service provided to all wholesale customers in ERCOT. The rules became the foundation for the development of the deregulated electric wholesale market in Texas, as directed by Texas Legislature in 1995.
Other than the transmission access rulemaking project, Ms. Pevoto also worked on a number of rate cases for cooperatives and investor-owned utilities (IOUs). In these cases, she testified on issues of cost allocation and rate design. Her work included developing complex cost allocation models and rate design analyses. As a result of her work experience in these cases, Ms. Pevoto is very familiar with the cost allocation models for all IOUs under PUCT jurisdiction.
In 1997, after becoming the Manager of the Costing and Pricing Section at the PUCT, Ms. Pevoto started a project to separate the costs of nine IOUs in Texas into generation, transmission, distribution, metering & billing, and customer services categories. In this project, Ms. Pevoto and her staff collected data, developed guidelines and procedures for separating costs, and implemented the cost separation for the nine IOUs. The project produced a report that contains all the data collected, the procedure to separate the costs, and most importantly the results of the cost separation for nine IOUs. The unbundled cost information presented in the report became very useful for the Commission in assisting the Texas Legislature in developing the electric deregulation bill (Senate Bill 7) in the 1999 Legislation. During the 1999 Legislative Session, Ms. Pevoto was heavily involved in developing information and data for the Texas Legislature to review while the Legislature was developing Senate Bill 7. She was also involved in the negotiation among parties regarding the issue of the allocation of stranded costs among customers during the 1999 Legislative Session and assisted in drafting the language reflecting the settlement on this issue to be included in the bill.
In the summer of 1999, shortly after the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 7, Ms. Pevoto led a team developing rules governing the separation of the competitive energy services from the integrated IOUs, the separation of the integrated IOUs into several business units, and the cost separation for the development of the non-bypassable charges, in order to implement the provisions related to business separation and the development of non-bypassable charges in Senate Bill 7. In the spring of 2000, shortly after eight Texas IOUs filed their cost unbundling cases, Ms. Pevoto was involved in the generic proceeding related to these cost unbundling cases. She testified before the Commission as an expert witness on the issues related to cost allocation and rate design for the non-bypassable charges to be applied in these unbundling cases. Ms. Pevoto recommended a simplified and uniform rate design for the transmission and distribution rates for all IOUs. The Commission eventually adopted her recommendations with very minor modifications. She also trained and supervised other staff members to develop and make recommendations on the unbundled costs of the eight IOUs in the cost-unbundling cases. Ms. Pevoto was also involved and made significant contributions in other rulemaking projects for the implementation of the Senate Bill 7, such as the Terms and Conditions of Transmission and Distribution Services and the Price to Beat.