At a posh dinner event and conference, industry experts speculate on the issues that could affect the industry in 2005.
It was the most exclusive, and one might say, one of the most extraordinary dinners. Never have I seen so many prominent CEOs, regulators, and financial gurus all in one room.
Hosted by a top Wall Street investment bank during the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) annual finance conference a few weeks ago, the event was held at San Diego's Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum, situated on top of the high hills of La Jolla and offering a breathtaking view of the ocean, was an unlikely place to discuss the future of the electric industry. But it was understandable, given events earlier that day. EEI had kicked off its finance conference with a number of panels that discussed the future of regulation, the future of power-plant development, and financing.
So there I was at "the dinner" in La Jolla, walking toward my numbered table, wondering what famous person in the industry I might be seated next to. I was not disappointed. At my table was a legendary billionaire financier, a prominent Midwest utility CEO, a top Washington policy guru, a large-cap utility finance executive, and an extremely well-respected energy investment banker.