Michael C. Brower, and Brian Parsons
Some in Congress would link customer choice with a portfolio standard. How would that play in a wholesale power market where gas turbines rule the roost?
By Michael C. Brower and Brian Parsons
WHAT KINDS OF POWER PLANTS WILL
get built in a deregulated electric industry? If recent history offers any guide, utilities and independent power companies will succumb to the traditional wisdom and invest in gas-fired combustion turbines and combined-cycle plants. Sound reasons may exist for doing so. The plants are less expensive than conventional steam plants. They put less capital at risk.
Charles M. Studness
You've got to reinvest the proceeds (em and not just anywhere.
Recovering stranded investment is sometimes equated to preserving shareholder wealth. In fact, full recovery of stranded investment by itself will not preserve shareholder wealth in most cases.
What is missing all too often in discussions of stranded investment is the role that capital investment plays in the creation of shareholder wealth.
John L. Domagalski, Agustin J. Ros, and Philip R. O'Connor
Which matters most: Cost? Price? Sales? Regulation?
Many investors no longer think of electric utility stocks primarily as dividend-rich, income-oriented investments. Instead, they have begun to consider new criteria in evaluating utility stocks (em criteria that might help explain some of the variations in equity price performance now seen among various utility companies.
Charles M. Studness
In the race toward competition, will outside investments break their poor track record?
The current rash of utility investments outside of the core franchise businesses appears to follow a pattern: a new spree of diversification every decade. Diversification was the rage in the early 1970s before the energy crisis, and revived during the mid-1980s when huge construction programs wound down. It has now reemerged as the threat of competition curtails traditional investment opportunities.
Sound bites from state and federal regulators.
Economic Development Programs. Connecticut allows LDC to redirect margin-sharing funds from interruptible and transportation sales to support economic development and reduce residential hardship assistance balances. Caps annual program funding at $6 million. Rejects proposal that shareholder funds match ratepayer contributions. Docket No. 93-03-09 Reopening III, Apr. 25, 1996 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).
Joseph F. Brennan and J. Robert Malko
In an article entitled "Rate Unbundling: Are We There Yet?" (PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, Feb. 15, 1996, p. 30), authors Susan Stratton Morse, Meg Meal, and Melissa Lavinson urge regulators to unbundle the cost of capital to recognize that the business risk of electric generation exceeds that of transmission and distribution (T&D).
Agustin Ros, John L. Domagalski, and Philip R. O'Connor
Investors are taking stock
of utility exposure to price competition.The utility trade press and even the general financial press have featured the views of regulators, utility executives, legislators, and various consumer advocates on the stranded-cost question. Stranded costs easily represent the most contentious issue facing the electric industry as it moves to an era of competition.
Charles M. Studness
New England Electric System (NEES) and the majority leaders of both houses of the Rhode Island Legislature have proposed legislation that would restructure the state's electric utility industry. The legislation provides for full recovery of all stranded costs, and phases in open access for all retail customers by January 2001. Although customer choice would come about relatively quickly, rates would not decline much in the near term because a transition charge shields NEES from most of the restructuring risk.
Forecasts Send ROEs Wide of the Mark
In a recent "Offpeak" ("Forecasting is Just That," Jan. 1, 1996, p. 54), David Foti and Clay Denton report data showing the percentage of error found in various seven-year forecasts of natural gas prices (1988-94) produced by the American Gas Association (A.G.A.), Energy Information Administration (EIA), DRI/McGraw-Hill (DRI), Gas Research Institute, and WEFA Group. These errors ranged from approximately 50 to 95 percent.
Phillip S. Cross
The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has authorized Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to increase rates by $8.9 million, with a return on equity (ROE) of 10.76 percent.