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Electricity rates may be heading skyward sooner than we think.
Fortnightly Magazine - April 2004

a 10.6 percent premium to the average price/book value followed by the Southeast, which was a 9.7 percent premium. On the down side, the Southwest is a 17.6 percent discount and New England-based utilities are a 13.5 percent discount."

Lehman's ranking of utility commissions is based on six criteria: 1) elected versus appointed commissions; 2) PBR mechanism or not; 3) allowed ROEs; 4) settle vs. litigate; 5) rate levels; and 6) a subjective evaluation of investor "friendliness."

The bank ranked Ohio as the top-rated public utilities commission. Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wyoming also fell into the top tier. The bottom tier consisted of Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia.

What to make of the fact that the majority of those voted the best and worst PUCs still hang on to traditional rate-base regulation? Even in regulated states, balancing shareholder interest against ratepayer interest is still more art than science. A fact that utilities will always dread, as long as there are rate cases.


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