Investors are making little distinction between regulated or unregulated business strategies. One banker suggests it will be difficult to stand out.
By Richard Stavros
It seems history does repeat itself all too often. In the late1990s, a common complaint by utility CEOs was that utility price-to-earnings (P/E) multiples did not take into account whether a com- pany was a pure-play regulated utility, a diversified utility with a merchant subsidiary, or something else. Many say investors at the time just didn’t understand the different business models that were emerging after electric restructuring.
Legislation and technology developments give a jump-start to smart metering
By Michael T. Burr
What a difference a year makes. In 2004, automated metering infrastructure (AMI) was in something of a slump, but the Energy Policy Act of 2005, an uptick in natural disasters, and encouraging results from pilot projects have strengthened the business case for investing in AMI.
What a difference a year makes.
In 2004, the automated metering industry was in something of a slump. After the 2003 Northeast blackout, and facing rising gas prices and diminished investor confidence during a time of war, many utilities put automated meter reading (AMR) on the back burner.
Incentives for transmission investment could boost postage-stamp pricing over license-plate rates.
FERC proposed a new set of regulations, under the new section 219 of the Federal Power Act, explaining in broad outline how it might approve generous financial incentives for new investments in transmission—incentives once dubbed as “candy.” As of mid-January, the new NOPR had spawned more industry comment than just about any other FERC proposal in recent memory.
The absence of long-term transmission rights could exclude potential competition—and cause higher electricity costs.
Power-industry restructuring redistributed financial uncertainties that discourage generation investment and ultimately raise the price of electricity to consumers.
Interchangeability issues threaten to delay vitally needed LNG projects.
Jake Dweck and David Wochner
Gas composition issues have become a significant hurdle for the industry. Resolving these challenges will not be easy, requiring all stakeholders to apply a thoughtful approach to understanding the issues.
(March 2006) FirstEnergy Corp. named Bennett L. Gaines vice president and CIO. PPL Corp. named Matt Simmons vice president and controller. NorthWestern Corp., d/b/a NorthWestern Energy, named D. Louis Peoples to its board of directors. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards re-elected Dr. Graham B. Wallis as chairman, Dr. William J. Shack as vice-chairman, and John D. Sieber as member-at-large. And others...
Better designs are needed to realize the goal of lower-cost gas.
Ken Costello and James F. Wilson
A gas procurement incentive mechanism that provides strong incentives for a broad range of procurement-related costs and revenues, using a benchmark that is both exogenous and adaptive to external circumstances, can benefit consumers.
Ahmad Faruqui and Robert Earle
This overview of ratemaking and rate-design principles should ease the myriad tasks awaiting new rate analysts and attorneys, while provoking nostalgia among industry veterans still manning the ratemaking stations.
With increasing unit costs, the financial prospects and credit outlook for many utilities will depend on their success in passing along such costs to consumers.
The utility sector still has excellent access to the capital and credit markets. Yet, it is never safe to assume utilities will continue to enjoy the same low costs of capital. This is particularly true for companies facing compressed margins, regulatory deferrals or disallowances, and rising debt leverage.
FERC says it won’t ‘change’ the native-load preference, but don’t bet on it.
When FERC opened wholesale power markets to competition a decade ago in Order No. 888, it codified a system for awarding grid access known as the pro forma Open-Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), founded on physical rights, and on the fiction that electrons travel along a “contract path.” Should the commission “tinker” with the OATT, making only surgical changes to make it current? Or, do events instead warrant a complete overhaul?