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Fortnightly Magazine - June 2007

Rating the New Risks

How trading hazards affect enterprise risk management at utilities.

Terry Pratt, Arleen Spangler, Richard Cortright, and Steve Dreyer

Over the past 15 years, trading’s role at utility companies has evolved substantially from ensuring sufficient power and fuel supplies for ratepayers to taking large, open, and speculative positions and maximizing asset value. Along with that evolution come a host of new business and financial risks for utilities.

The New Balance of Power

Do states have any rights in siting LNG terminals?

William A. Mogel and Shuchi Batra

Natural gas often is called the world’s most perfect fuel. And since it can be transported as liquefied natural gas (LNG), and, as LNG, is projected to meet 20 percent of the country’s natural-gas requirements by 2025, the construction of onshore LNG terminals is crucial for the United States. Siting of LNG terminals is contentious as states and a range of stakeholders challenge and seek to frustrate FERC’s permitting authority.

2007 CEO Forum: Greenhouse Gauntlet

Tackling climate change is a monumental challenge. Power-company CEOs discuss long-range plans for a climate-friendly energy economy.

Michael T. Burr

Seven CEOs—from Exelon, Great Plains Energy, National Grid, NRG Energy, Duke Energy, FPL Group, Great River Energy—explain how global warming is affecting their customers, shareholders, and employees.

Clean Air Rules: A New Roadmap for the Power Sector

How new market-based regulations fit with today’s programs.

Sam Napolitano, Melanie LaCount, James O. Lee, Beth Murray, Mary Shellabarger, and Sam Waltzer

What do the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, and the Clean Air Visibility Rule require of the power sector? Authors from the Environmental Protection Agency review implementation progress.

Carbon Costs: The Coming Battle

Where are prices going, and where have they been?

Caroline Gentry and Jamie Webster

The Supreme Court’s recent decision empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide shifted momentum toward a mandatory program to cap greenhouse-gas emissions. Eventually, there will be huge implications for power generation.

Restructuring Revisited

What we can learn from retail-rate increases in restructured and non-restructured states.

J.P. Pfeifenberger, G.N. Basheda, and A.C. Schumacher

Significant rate increases in many retail-access states have regulators and policy-makers asking whether customer choice and utility restructuring have failed, and what they can do about these rate increases.

Viewpoint: In Defense of Markets

The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.

Todd W. Bessemer and Francis X. Shields

A motley assortment of naysayers and recalcitrants continue to oppose competitive electricity markets around the world. But the alternative to markets is centralized command economics—a discredited concept that deserves to be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Highlighting Interoperability

A decision-maker’s checklist provide a starting point—but not an end-point.

Alison Silverstein and Richard Schomberg

Recent predictions suggest that the U.S. electric industry will invest $300 billion in new transmission and distribution (T&D) facilities (including advanced meters) over the next decade, and $400 billion in new power plants over the next 25 years to meet forecasted demand growth. If we start now, we can build interoperability principles and capabilities into those investments and hasten the improvements in reliability, costs, innovation and value that interoperability can deliver.

Letters to the Editor

John S. Ferguson: I concur with Mark Williams’ assessment that the proposed KKR/TPG acquisition of TXU through a leveraged buyout (LBO) may “have negative consequences for Texas customers,” which he indicates as being a consequence of the nature of an LBO. I think it is more likely a consequence of the nature of the restructuring imposed by the Texas Legislature.

Stephen L. Teichler and Ilia Levitine: We take it with good humor that Scott Strauss and Jeffrey Schwartz used our report on the 9th Circuit’s recent Mobile-Sierra decisions as a foil to the grand argument that courts should return to the “statutory roots” in their interpretation of Mobile-Sierra.

A Primer on the PIM Framework

How enterprise risk management practices impact the Standard & Poor’s rating process.

Terry Pratt

About a year ago, Standard & Poor’s expanded the methodology used to review and assess the enterprise risk management practices of U.S. energy firms with trading desks. The methodology, known as the PIM framework, focuses on the three aspects of policies, infrastructure, and methodology, and produces a comprehensive evaluation of a firm’s risk management. The importance of each of these aspects in a company’s risk culture, and our opinion of its risk management quality, will depend on that company’s size, complexity, and range of risk.

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