Hossein Haeri, M. Sami Khawaja, and Matei Perussi
Do mergers and "critical mass" really make a difference? The answer, it seems, is yes.
To become more competitive, U.S. electric utilities have embarked on a quest in recent years to improve operational efficiency and factor productivity. The question is: Are utilities making progress? And, which companies have gained a competitive edge? Which have not?
Industry analysts have long argued that given the structure of the markets they serve and their cost-based, rate-setting procedures, electric utilities tend toward monopolistic behavior.
Lori A. Burkhart
Five utility companies have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Birmingham against the Tennessee Valley Authority to bar it from making sales to unauthorized third parties for resale outside TVA's service territory, claiming such sales violate the TVA Act.
"TVA is under more intense attack from private utilities than at any time in its history," said TVA Chair Craven Crowell at an April 15 at a meeting of the TVA Caucus in Washington, D.C.
Lori A. Burkhart
The Blue Ridge Power Agency has chosen Cinergy Corp. as the recommended supplier of wholesale electric power to five of its members during a seven-year period starting July 1, 1998.
Blue Ridge is a "joint action agency" that assists in making wholesale supply arrangements for eight municipal electric systems in the western part of Virginia. Cinergy replaces American Electric Power-Virginia as the power supplier, and beat out the other finalists (em AEP, Commonwealth Edison, Enron, and LG&E Power Marketing.
Lori A. Burkhart
Southwestern Electric Cooperative Inc. has notified Soyland Power Inc. it will terminate its electric supply contract and buy its full requirements from Cinergy Corp.
The cooperative said it can buy the wholesale power from Cinergy at a lower price. It is expected to start receiving electricity in April under a five-year contract. The agreement includes other services Cinergy may provide to Southwestern Electric Cooperative, such as economic assistance and new-business development opportunities.
John Yurkanin was appointed senior v.p. of marketing and sales for LG&E Natural. Yurkanin joined LG&E in 1996 and served as senior v.p., producer services. Yurkanin will direct LG&E in expanding marketing presence with utilities and other marketers. Also at LG&E, Mark Stanger was appointed v.p., producer services. Stanger will direct service business, including contracting for new sources of gas supply and managing relationships with current suppliers.
Commissioner Hullihen Williams Moore will serve as chairman of the State Corporation Commission for the next year.
Liberalisation of the electricity markets in the UK and Scandinavia has driven merger activity in these territories. This was evident in 1996 with U.S. companies taking over MEB, East Midlands Electricity and Northern Electric, with London Electricity likely to follow in early 1997.
Richard Y. Roberts, commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for five years through July 1995, joined Reid & Priest. He'll work in the business, finance, infrastructure, government, utility and energy segment of the firm.
El Paso Energy International Co., a unit of El Paso Energy Corp., named a six-man management team, pulled from international operations and the recently acquired Tenneco Energy. Byron Kelley will be executive v.p.; John R. Cunningham will be v.p.-administration, engineering and asset management; William S.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Perhaps the only political prediction bound to come true this year is that the words ôelectric restructuringö will reverberate in nearly every stateÆs legislative chamber.
So says Matthew Brown, director of the energy project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But other factors support BrownÆs prediction. Public Utilities FortnightlyÆs informal survey of most states turned up similar results. Legislators know that the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Congress plan to introduce a federal bill this year.
Jay P. Lukens, formerly a principal at Energy Market Economics, Inc., was hired by The Economic Resource Group, Inc., as managing director and principal of the company's new Houston office.
Edison Source tapped Aram G. Sogomonian, a former executive at Enron Capital and Trade Resources as its new corporate risk management v.p. Sogomonian was Enron's director of risk analytics and asset price, and also has worked at Unocal.
Larry Grossman, a senior v.p. at Cassidy & Associates, was retained by the Council on Superconductivity for American Competitiveness as executive director.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has a five-member slate for the first time in over three years. Recently sworn in were Nils J. Diaz and Edward McGaffigan, Jr. Diaz was a professor of nuclear engineering sciences at the University of Florida; McGaffigan, a former foreign service officer, was a senior science and defense advisor to U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). William T. Russell, NRC director of nuclear reactor regulation (NRR), retired September 30. Frank J.