Utilities adapt to a shifting landscape.
Michael T. Burr, Editor-in-Chief
The U.S. utility landscape is more dynamic and uncertain than it’s been since Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse waged their infamous war over alternating current—and the results might be just as fundamental to the industry’s future.
T&D investments prioritize reliability and load growth.
A massive T&D system build-out is starting, but more needs to be done. Executives from Northeast Utilities, Pepco Holdings and ITC Holdings discuss improvements needed for reliability, capacity, security, smart-grid and demand-response measures, as well as accommodating wind and green-energy quotas.
(November 2008) Atmos Energy promoted Kim R. Cocklin to the new position of president and COO. Exelon Corp. named Christopher M. Crane president and COO. Public Service Enterprise Group elected Thomas P. Joyce as president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear. Northeast Utilities (NU) announced new leadership for Yankee Gas Services Co. and Western Mass Electric Co. And others...
(Octover 2008) Xcel Energy named David Sparby president and CEO of Northern States Power Minnesota. Entergy Corp. appointed Terence Burke general counsel and chief legal officer for EquaGen, the joint venture operating company to be owned 50 percent by Entergy and 50 percent by Enexus Energy. Steven Agresta was named executive vice president, general counsel and chief legal officer for Enexus Energy. NorthWestern Energy appointed Robert C. Rowe as president and CEO. And others...
Green investments require bulletproof financing.
Originally developed to compensate U.S. electric utilities for regulatory assets rendered uneconomic by deregulation, so-called “stranded-cost” securitization techniques are finding new applications. To date, utilities have issued approximately $40 billion of stranded-cost securitizations. That number could increase dramatically if the industry applies well-tested securitization techniques to the extraordinary costs it faces in the future.
Despite a favorable outlook for utility finance, cost pressures are straining rate structures.
Utilities are bringing monumental capital-expenditure plans before rate regulators just as they’re dealing with a barrage of rising costs—for fuel and other commodities, as well as labor, pension-fund obligations, and interest payments. Ten energy-finance luminaries elaborate on the industry’s fortunes.
Some say the five-year love affair with the industry is at an end.
Jean Reaves Rollins and Richard Stavros
Analysts: Down on utilities. Is the party over? That’s the tough question posed in a research note by Wachovia equity research analyst Samuel Brothwell.
The North American electric-power sector remains highly fragmented, with much consolidation potential.
During the last few years, the generating asset-ownership structure in North America has gone through a major change. During one of the most severe bust cycles of the industry, and the gradual recovery of the markets, significant amounts of assets have changed hands.
Electric shortages and the generation overbuild continue to co-exist.
While maintaining its stance as the most sophisticated competitive electricity market in the country, PJM still faces several challenges, all of which are augmented by its expanded footprint. Most prominent is the RTO’s plan to implement a new reliability pricing model. Further, parts of PJM are ailing from transmission congestion issues that limit access to abundant, cheap power sources in the region.
Utilities showed strong gains last year, but other industries are gaining ground.
Dean C. Maschoff, Gordon Hilbun, and Jason K. D’Souza
The Dow Jones Utilities Index posted another year of solid gains in 2006. As might be expected, in connection with both the near-term and longer-term historical investor performance of the utility sector, there’s a story within the story. Further, this performance history provides a context against which the impact of both current and emerging issues can be assessed.