Warren L. Robinson, Executive VP and CFO, MDU Resources
Richard Stavros is Fortnightly's Executive Editor.
Do you think the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act will mean more consolidation? If so, what do you foresee?
Warren L. Robinson: I believe that there will be further consolidation. I don't know that the repeal will have a tremendous amount to do with it. There will obviously be a positive impact. But I think many companies, if you look at Warren Buffet, Duke, and others, have been ignoring the holding company act already. I think it was a foregone conclusion that would be repealed at some point. But the fact that it has gone away I think will take away any reasons that companies might have for saying that they really can't look beyond their traditional areas ... I think the state regulators will be focused on how mergers will affect the ratepayers. ...
Now, I do think you are going to see continued consolidation [by] people like Warren Buffet that have an expertise in the business. Generally, I think it is a very positive development, but I don't think it is going to be a massive change in the outlook for utilities.