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Fortnightly Magazine - September 2005

Smart Meters on The March

New federal policies portend a wave of demand-response programs, and perhaps a new era in resource planning.

Michael T. Burr

When President Bush signed the energy bill on August 8, he set in motion a chain of events that might lead to major changes in the way utilities price and meter retail electric services—and ultimately in the way they value and use non-traditional energy resources.

The Fortnightly 40 Financial Ratings

Which is the best energy company?

Richard Stavros

(September 2005) Top honors in our first annual financial ranking go to those staying with the basics and to those dealing with soaring commodity prices.

Capital Management: The Missing Performance Driver

Does your company measure up?

Jim Hendrickson, with Marco Bruzzano and Jim Mazurek

Few companies achieve sustainable high performance. Markets change but companies fail to adapt, and investors are unforgiving. Utilities, and new entrants, learned this lesson during the first competitive market cycle of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when few companies sustained a high-performance leadership.

Building the Perfect Generation Portfolio

Finding and applying the efficient frontier.

James C. Letzelter

Buyers of power-plant assets use a number of tried-and-true approaches to asset valuation, including discounted cash flow and option-pricing models. While the valuation approaches employed generally are sophisticated, they focus almost exclusively on individual assets. Conspicuously missing is consideration of the asset portfolio as a whole. For illustrative purposes, we performed an assessment of a basic new power-plant portfolio. The results are well suited for general risk analysis and risk management, portfolio planning and restructuring, power plant acquisition, development, and divestiture.

Outsourcing: All It's Cracked Up to Be?

Despite several high-profile deals, utilities remain cautious about outsourcing their key business processes.

Michael T. Burr

It seems that "outsourcing" has become a dirty word among utility executives. But though left unsaid in polite conversation, the word is still on everybody's mind. They might even be doing it. They just aren't talking about it.

Maintaining Control Over Outsourcing

Utilities can transform the business while managing risk.

Victor Reyes, Cathy Newman, and Defne Dellaloglu

In a survey of 305 North American utilities, 51 percent of the respondents said they either had outsourced or were planning to outsource a customer-care function in the next two years. But despite its advantages, outsourcing remains fraught with risk—the very reason that traditionally conservative utility companies have in the past shied away from letting third parties take over parts of their business.

Finding the Utility's Core

Where should outsourcing end—and the real utility begin?

Richard Charles

When utilities evaluate business process outsourcing, they need to determine which processes are most advantageous to outsource—core or non-core? Rather than debating the merits of core or non-core, perhaps the more critical questions utilities should ask are: How are our key processes performing? Are they cost-efficient and effective? Do they enhance or inhibit our corporate performance?

Hold the Champagne?

There is much to celebrate in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but what will federal regulators do?

Richard Stavros

When we least expected it, the politicians finally were able to pull a multi-billion white rabbit out of their hat—enacting a comprehensive national energy law (Energy Policy Act of 2005) that will usher in extraordinary changes in the industry However, just how the new law really will affect the industry is the question of the hour, with many provisions of the law left to the interpretation of regulators.

People

(September 2005) The Consolidated Edison Inc. board of directors elected Kevin Burke as a member. Great River Energy named Greg Ridderbusch vice president, business development and strategy. Millennium Pipeline named Dick Leehr as president. And others...

Wholesale Competition: The Big-Bang Effect

Consider the opening of the PJM market, and its effect on prices.

Gary Hunt, Doug Buresh, and Mark Turner

Wholesale competition is working, and the best evidence to date is the savings produced from the opening of the PJM market to competitive power generation from the Midwest. A real-time case study unfolded before our eyes in May and October 2004.

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