Underwhelmed by the Utilities That Serve Them?
Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 2002
S&P, Moody's, and Fitch tell why credit issues now rule the energy sector.
This year saw energy companies forced to make some grim choices-issuing new stock in falling markets, angering investors with dividend cutbacks, selling prized assets at fire sale prices. Some blame it on the rating agencies-the bond kings-who imposed tougher credit standards after the fall of Enron.
The real, painful reform has only just begun.
It has been almost a year since Enron imploded into bankruptcy, but rather than solve problems, the event has only brought uncertainty-credit rating downgrades, a drop in investor confidence, and heightened scrutiny from the Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Adopting a portfolio approach to credit risk is the answer.
How times have changed from the "good old days" of credit risk management. No longer can credit managers hide behind the false comfort that they only approve transactions with companies that pay their bills.
The pros and cons of dividend pay-out reductions and stock repurchase programs in uncertain economic times.
The Dow Jones Utility Average currently stands at its lowest level in five years. Electric and gas utilities, along with U.S. companies generally, have been consistently lowering their payout ratios over the past several years, and that downward trend is projected to continue. What do these facts portend for utility investors in the near future?
This year, or next, legislators will close in on a national energy bill.
This year, or next, legislators will close in on a national energy bill. Some agreement already looks promising for several industry flashpoints.
Demand Response: Keep It Market- Based
Judy Pensabene has joined the Republican staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as deputy chief counsel. She is returning to the committee, where she worked from 1990 to 1995, after serving as vice president of federal affairs at Constellation Energy Group.
Entergy announced that Peter P. Schneider has been hired as vice president of Nuclear Human Resources, a new position within the company. Schneider's prior experience includes stints at Human Resources Strategies and Solutions, Inc., Exelon, and PECO Energy.