Fortnightly Magazine - October 2005

Risking a Green-Power Outage

Will eco-power survive the next five years?

"If you build it they will come" has not proven to be applicable for green-power programs. Utilities have to build their programs in the right way, with the right rewards and incentives—then the customers will come. If utilities do not do this, then the effort to expand renewable energy markets will suffer a great setback, one from which it will take many years to recover.

CFOs Speak Out: Looking Beyond Power

Chief financial officers discuss new strategies and the possibility of further convergence inside and outside the energy industry.

A whole new cast of characters is expected to enter the energy industry—overseas ventures, telecom firms, insurance companies, and financial-services groups. But even as the future seems to hold boundless opportunity, utility executives and industry experts continue to disagree on what sort of consolidation is right.

Utility M&A: How Many Deals, and How Soon?

By opening the field to far-flung deals, PUHCA’s repeal changes the merger game.

The repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act has attracted a surprising amount of attention in the business and consumer press. But while some analysts predict a wave of utility M&A activity, others are more sanguine about the change.

Following Up on a Capital Performance

Utility stocks have outperformed the broader market. Can the industry deliver a show-stopping second act?

The utility sector has been one of the best performing sectors in the equity capital markets for more than two years. In many respects, this has been a case of the rising tide lifting all ships.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005: Two Views

What the legislation says about a national strategy.

Now that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 has had a chance to sink in, a review of the bill's perks and pork is in order. Supporters of the 1,724-page piece of legislation laud it as a triumph of job-creating bipartisanship that attempts to shore up our energy supply, while detractors call it a gargantuan giveaway to a well-heeled industry.

A Welcome Truce in the Electricity Wars

Let's enjoy this brief period of diminished acrimony before implementation of this landmark law.

In a time of record high gasoline prices, war, and increasingly shared global climate concerns, it is lamentable that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 does so little to address these critical issues. Within the narrower context of policies primarily affecting the electric power industry, however, this is a much more significant piece of legislation, and it includes a few accomplishments bordering on the extraordinary.

A Low-Voltage Energy Bill

While a few provisions are worth embracing, most of its 1,724 pages represent a waste of good timber.

After four years of legislative trench warfare, contentious legal wrangling, and heated partisan rhetoric, President Bush finally got what he wanted—a really big energy bill. What he did not get, however, was an internally consistent "national energy strategy." Examination of the legislation reveals that its title—the Energy Policy Act of 2005—is less descriptive than the title popularized by Sen. John McCain: the No Lobbyist Left Behind Act of 2005.

Beyond Sarbanes-Oxley

Energy Trading & Risk Management: How to evaluate risk and improve decision-making capabilities.

With a heightened focus on risk management, it has become increasingly clear that traditional risk-management approaches do not adequately identify, evaluate and manage risk. An ERM approach integrates risk management with existing management processes, identifies future events that can have both positive and negative effects, and evaluates the effectiveness of strategies for managing the organization's exposure to those possible future events. ERM transforms risk management to a proactive, continuous, value-based, broadly focused, and process-driven activity.

By Executive Decision

Energy Trading & Risk Management: A better framework for making decisions is required to ensure earnings stability and shareholder value in the utilities industry.

Although utilities are refocusing attention on their traditional utility businesses, it is clear that the traditional utility decision-making framework is not sufficiently robust to meet the needs of today's utility executive. An effective executive decision framework provides better answers in the complex utility environment that exists today.

The Cost of Katrina

Debate continues on how to safeguard America's energy infrastructure.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the central question: Could any of this have been avoided? Many experts believe that the new authority given to FERC to enforce mandatory reliability standards, as per the Energy Policy Act of 2005, will bring greater transparency to the process of protecting critical infrastructure.

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