Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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cash flow

Business & Money

The utilities industry is in need of more equity.
Robert G. Rosenberg

Business & Money

The utilities industry is in need of more equity.

Regulated utilities, in response to increased risks and bond downratings, have de-leveraged their capital structures. According to preliminary figures from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), in 2003 utilities cut their short-term debt by more than half compared with 2002. The EEI data also reveal that for 2003, electric utilities issued more than $10 billion of new common equity and repurchased just slightly more than $100 million of common stock.

Business & Money

Merchant plants now draw investors from three different worlds-each with its own agenda.
Ren Plastina

Business & Money

Merchant plants now draw investors from three different worlds-each with its own agenda.

It's tempting to chalk up the recent bubble in merchant generation to just another industry cycle, but there's more to consider. Investment in the industry was far from even, leaving some regions teeming with unused peaking plants while other regions continue to struggle with a need for capital investment.

Frontlines

Will a back-to-basics strategy meet investor expectations?
Richard Stavros

Frontlines

Will a back-to-basics strategy meet investor expectations?

It's an issue that is coming to the fore with greater force-the debate over how utilities should honor their obligation to stockholders. But this time there seems to be quite a difference of opinion over strategy-or so we found in our annual finance issue.

The Dividend Yield Trap

Higher payouts aren't enough over the long term.
George W. Bilicic and Ian C. Connor

Higher payouts aren't enough over the long term.

The past two years witnessed the ascendancy of dividend yield in the valuations of U.S. electric utilities. The recent primacy of yield in utility-industry valuations is the product of a unique confluence of factors. The collapse of most of the industry's non-regulated growth initiatives has resulted in a market that attributes little value to the industry's growth prospects beyond that which has been historically generated by the expansion of rate base-1 to 3 percent.

The Future of Fuel Diversity: Crisis or Euphoria?

The fragmented electric industry structure poses an obstacle to a more stable, diverse, and secure power supply.
Ellen Lapson and Richard Hunter

The Future of Fuel Diversity

The fragmented electric industry structure poses an obstacle to a more stable, diverse, and secure power supply.

Daily news headlines have drawn attention to concerns about fuels, especially the rising prices of oil and natural gas. Fears of interruptions of oil exports from Iraq, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela (take your pick) roil the energy market. But coal is not exempt from bad news, as production declines reduce output from Eastern U.S.

Utility M&A: Buying Time

Buying Time
Michael T. Burr

Buying Time

Slowly and cautiously, utilities are moving back into growth mode.

The air is buzzing with talk of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). It can be heard in the boardroom and on the trading floor. Bankers hear it, and they see their deal backlog beginning to grow. Fund managers hear it, as they hunt for the best buys in the market before strategic investors snatch them up. Financial advisers and lawyers hear it, too; their phones are ringing more than they have in years.

CFOs speak out: Growth Strategy for the 21st Century

For The 21st Century
Richard Stavros

For The 21st Century

Interviews by

So it begins again. After several financially tumultuous years, executives at many of the nation's top utilities can once again look to the horizon and ask the growth question worthy of a Caesar: "What worlds to conquer?"

Utility executives are emboldened by bulging free cash flows, improved credit quality, lower operations and maintenance costs, favorable regulatory treatment, growing service territories, and increasing demand for power.

The Customer as Strategic Asset

ECM
Stephen L. Prince

ECM

Achieving financial returns from increasing customer satisfaction.

Every utility focuses on effectively managing infrastructure and capital assets. However, one important balance sheet asset may be overlooked and under-leveraged-the customer.

Power Measurements

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.
Gary L. Hunt and Grant Thain

Power Measurement

Energy trading returns, healthier and wiser.

The recent announcement of a trading joint venture between TXU and Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) is the latest in a series of positive news items supporting the return of energy trading. Wall Street firms continue to expand into the energy-trading sector, with Citigroup as well as CSFB moving into an area already well represented by the likes of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.

Commission Watch

Incentive regulation is not a cure-all for the continuing controversy over return on equity.
Jonathan A. Lesser

Commission Watch

Incentive regulation is not a cure-all for the continuing controversy over return on equity.

Regulated utilities are all too familiar with the contentious disputes that surround how the allowed return on equity (ROE) is set in a traditional cost-of-service setting. These disputes, which are reappearing as numerous utility rate-stabilization plans signed as part of deregulation come to an end, are likely to hinge, as always, on the riskiness of utility operating environments.

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