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Fortnightly Magazine - April 2007

A View on the TXU Leveraged Buyout

Is power a public good or a private goodie?

Mark T. Williams

Professor Mark T. Williams goes in depth on the TXU leveraged buyout.

Three-Dimensional Price Forecasting

Using the past, present, and future to optimize our understanding of today’s energy markets.
By Andy Dunn

Price forecasting is a significant business process within any energy merchant that trades electricity and natural gas. Business planning, trading, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), even rate-case activities rely upon some type of a price forecast as the foundation to analysis.

The problem with a single forecast is that it never is correct. As soon as the forecast is complete, the world changes and the information becomes dated and often even irrelevant.

Greening the Grid

Can markets co-exist with renewable mandates?

Bruce W. Radford

Part way through the Feb. 27 conference on electric competition, it was so quiet you could hear a hockey puck slide across the ice. No, hell had not frozen over. Rather, it was Commissioner Marc Spitzer, who had found a clever story to ease the tension and allay fears that FERC somehow might want to undo the sins of the past, and give up its dream of workable markets for wholesale power.

LNG: Desperately Seeking Supply

Several new LNG plants are under construction, but firm supplies remain scarce. Will empty terminals alleviate gas-price pressures?

Michael T. Burr

To better understand the evolving outlook for LNG and its role in the U.S. gas market, Fortnightly assembled a group of LNG specialists with various perspectives on the issues.

Natural-Gas Revenue Decoupling: Good for the Utility, or for Consumers?

Among a host of arguments for and against RD is the question of upside for consumers.

Ken Costello

Retaining adequate earnings is the driving motive for revenue decoupling (RD) among gas utilities, while conservationists view RD as necessary for the removal of resistance to energy efficiency. But the benefits of RD to consumers are less certain.

A New World of Risks

A new set of skills and expertise will be necessary to deal with the risks created by new government mandates, new market developments, and new energy technologies.

Richard Stavros

Experts say a new set of skills and expertise will be necessary to manage the risk created by new government mandates, new market developments, and new energy technologies.

Penalty Shot

An interpretation of FERC’s first application of EPACT.

William F. Hederman Jr.

At its open meeting on Jan. 18, 2007, FERC unanimously approved settlements with five electric utilities for a total of $22.5 million and other considerations. This action answers some important questions that energy market participants have been asking. In particular, it helps market participants connect some important dots regarding the regulatory landscape in which they must operate, but it also raises important questions that market participants would like answered.

Strong CROs: More Important Than Ever

How important is the risk function at your company?

Clay A. Jackson

Wither the chief risk officer (CRO)? Some utilities have moved risk staff under the CFO or controller, while other utilities have pushed CROs down the management hierarchy. But risk remains, and a rudimentary risk function will not do.

Catch the Wave: New Hydro Generation Comes Ashore

Promises of emissions-free power get the ball rolling, but unknowns remain.

Christian Hamaker

After years of feasibility studies, lack of development funds, and escalating fuel costs across the energy spectrum, ocean energy is suddenly a very hot topic.

Basic Instinct

If private equity makes a killing, Congress should require full disclosure.

Richard Stavros, Executive Editor

There’s just no stopping it. The capital amassed by private takeover firms is simply overwhelming. Any reasonable person could conclude that public utilities face wholesale changes in terms of corporate ownership. Investor-owed? You bet. But the “public” part may well give way to “private.”

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