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The CEO Power Forum: The Best of the Best

Five electric utility chiefs are showing true leadership for their companies and for an entire industry.
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2003

to an average of 16 in 2002 and 2003 to date. Choice rules are such that it is relatively easy for suppliers to get into and out of the market. The only constant is that the utility has to offer fixed prices until 2010 in PECO's case. In Pennsylvania, we at PECO are only halfway through a transition period that ends 2010. The post transition market structure is anyone's guess, but it is almost certain to be different than the rules in the transition period.

Defining success is a matter of perspective. In Pennsylvania, provider of last resort rates were set in 1998 for the future 12 years. This has recently turned out to be fantastic for customers because they have been protected from the volatility of the wholesale electricity market. I would say that consumer advocates call this extremely successful: Customers have choices and price protections. However, what is good for the customer is not always good for alternative suppliers. Suppliers at the time probably would say that it has not been successful. If you were to ask them the question in 2001, you would probably have received a different answer. If you ask them in 2004, maybe a different answer yet. Wholesale market prices are like the weather in some places-if you don't like it at the moment, stick around, it's sure to change.

How do you feel about the random assignment of customers?

What we have learned since 1999 in PECO Energy is that if there is to be a random assignment of customers, it is important to develop procedures in cooperation with consumer advocates and regulators so that any process results in the consumer being better off by being randomly selected and assigned. This can mean being guaranteed savings on their generation bill or being sold a generation product with a renewable power component (such as wind or solar) at the same price they were paying for a non-renewable component product.

Chairman, President, and CEO of Dominion

"We have two big finds in the Gulf [of Mexico], Front Runner and Devils Tower. Once they're both running that's going to add 120 billion cubic feet of gas for us. That will throw off a lot of cash."

The Company

Market Cap End of 1Q 2003:
$17.1 billion

P/E Ratio End of 1Q2003:
11.8 (forward '03); 11.5 (trailing '02)

Revenue 2002:
$10.2 billion

Net Income 2002:
$1.362 billion


The Executive

Age: 67

Education: Undergraduate and Law degrees from the University of North Carolina.

Board Memberships: Formerly director of Bassett Furniture Industries Inc. Currently a member of the board of visitors for William & Mary, and the board of trustees of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

Earlier in Career: Joined Carolina Power & Light Co. in 1970 as senior counsel, then became vice president and general counsel of Boston Edison Co. in 1974. Partner at Miami law firm of Steel Hector and Davis, where he also served as chairman of the exectuvie committee for the firm. Joined Virginia Power as executive vice president in 1984 and became president