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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2006

Merchant Power: When Hedging and Profits Collide

Does too much risk management mean leaving money on the table?

Andy Dunn

Why do energy merchants or those utilities with merchant power divisions obsess over “selling” their upside? These companies feel compelled to show steady, predictable profit streams to both the street and their stakeholders, despite the fact that they operate within one of the most volatile markets in the world. Typically, their method of achieving earnings consistency centers on the execution of complicated purchase and sales agreements that effectively lock in the price of fuel and electricity. Don’t these contracts really just eliminate the potential positive return an energy merchant strives to achieve in the first place?

Kicked Off and On Schedule

Cal-ISO files a new market design, but has it traded efficiency for software?

Bruce W. Radford

Eyeing a launch date of November 2007, Cal-ISO at last has come forward with plans for revamping its widely disparaged wholesale market design. The formal proposal, known as the MRTU (Market Redesign and Technology Upgrade), was filed this past February at FERC.

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs

What is leadership?

Richard Stavros

Fortnightly speaks to five CEOs who exemplify industry leadership: David L. Sokol, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.; Peter A. Darbee, PG&E Corp.; Jeff Sterba, PNM Resources; Peggy Fowler, Portland General Electric; and J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy.

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: David L. Sokol

Chairman and CEO, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

Interview by Richard Stavros

“Leadership is the recognition that we are fiduciaries of the customer’s dollars and we have to be as efficient as we possibly can be because it is their money and not ours.”

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: Peter A. Darbee

Chairman, President, and CEO, PG&E Corp.

Interview by Richard Stavros

“The nature of a leader is that they set targets that you can’t accomplish by extending a ruler over the past track record in getting there.”

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: Jeff Sterba

Chairman, President, and CEO, PNM Resources

Interview by Richard Stavros

“Any leader who thinks their job is only about articulating a grand vision is sadly mistaken. Success is 20 percent planning, 60 percent execution, and 20 percent luck.”

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: Peggy Fowler

President and CEO, Portland General Electric

Interview by Richard Stavros

“I think in our business, meeting higher customer expectations and staying focused on that all of the time will ultimately serve your shareholders.”

The CEO Forum: The Ultimate CEOs: J. Wayne Leonard

CEO, Entergy

Interview by Richard Stavros

“I think it is my job as a leader to make sure that our values are always lived up to even when [they] conflict necessarily with our vision. That is what people look for at the end of the day. A leader’s role above all else is to make sure the truth is respected.”

Mending Our Broken Capacity Markets

The ability to provide reliable capacity is becoming both riskier and more costly to society and investors alike.

Larry Kellerman

The ability to provide reliable capacity is becoming both riskier and more costly to society and investors alike.

Do Utility Mergers Deliver?

Not in all cases, or for all stakeholders. Here’s why.

Prescott Hartshorne and James Coyne

The industry perceives substantial benefits from consolidating. But what is the track record? Does the regulatory and strategic landscape suggest these mergers are beneficial?

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