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The Ultimate CEOs: C. John Wilder, TXU Corp.

The CEO Power Forum: Not all utility CEOs are created equal...

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2005

C. John Wilder

Chief Executive Officer, TXU Corp.

"This is a real industrial company with a real consumer business. It's not a kind of governmental confected business like many of these quasi-restructured market companies compete in."

Public Utilities Fortnightly  How would you say your company distinguishes itself from its peers? What businesses provide the most promise?

John Wilder  For TXU, we are clearly a unique animal, a unique company, in the sense that we are the largest competitive company by, frankly, an order of magnitude in the utility space. We are a $20-billion market-cap company with-it depends on how you calculate it-with at least three quarters of that value coming from unregulated operations. We are the largest competitive retailer in the United States by a factor of 30, 40, 50 percent, [again] depending on how you calculate it. We have about 2 million truly competitive retail customers. These are customers that have real choice, not like many of these others confected markets that have been designed over the last dozen or so years that really don't drive real competition at the retail level. We have had customer switching rates in our market that are about 10- or 15-fold what these other markets have experienced. This is a real industrial company with a real consumer business. It's not a kind of governmental confected business like many of these quasi-restructured market companies compete in. This is a real market economy in Texas. That is what distinguishes us. We're moving down the path and have made, frankly, very good progress in running TXU, particularly TXU's manufacturing business, as an industrial company by trying to achieve operational excellence and cost leadership. We get the benefit of that to the extent that we can run our manufacturing complex at high performance levels. And if we don't run them at high performance levels, we get punished for that economically. Almost all the other companies that your readers read about don't have that same economic incentive or disincentive. And, as I mention, on the consumer business, we have customers that have real choice. There are 80 competitors in our market that are fighting for the same valued customers we are fighting for. So, that just introduces an entirely new dynamic and one that we believe distinguishes our company.

Fortnightly Your company has placed much emphasis on succeeding in the Texas competitive market. But with more than 2.5 million customers, what kind of growth do you hope to achieve from this business?

Wilder The great benefit that we have is the economy in which we compete. There was a recent report that came out from the Texas state demographer indicating that Texas is projected to be the fourth largest growing state in terms of population in percentage terms, and the largest in absolute terms. The market in which we compete, the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, is expected to double in size in the next 20 some years.

If you look at North American Electric Reliability Council

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