Fortnightly Magazine - October 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.


(October 2005) Xcel Energy named Jacob P. Mercer assistant treasurer for the utility and its operating subsidiaries. Portland General Electric appointed Bill Valach director of investor relations. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher appointed John S. Moot as the commission's general counsel. PJM Interconnection has realigned responsibilities among five executives. And others...

What Is Your Power Portfolio Really Worth?

Change is the only certainty in today’s market.

The past year has allowed the North American power sector to continue its recovery, but it has been a treacherous time for investing. Asset values, and the value of their associated debt instruments, are being driven in the short term by an extreme fuel market and in the long term by a back-to-basics mindset among electric utilities. Still, asset valuations in most markets are not yet at replacement costs, leaving current investors with a residual level of risk.

CFOs Speak Out: Making Convergence Work

Warren L. Robinson, Executive VP and CFO, MDU Resources

Warren L. Robinson, Executive VP and CFO, MDU Resources: "In the 1920s we discovered some oil and gas. ... In the mid-1980s, we really broke it out and started to develop oil and gas fields outside our region."

CFOs Speak Out: Utilities: Not Interested

Stephen I. Chazen, Senior Executive VP and CFO, Occidental Petroleum

Stephen I. Chazen, Senior Executive VP and CFO, Occidental Petroleum: "I think the skills of a utility management are different than the skills of an oil management… I don't think those are related industries. I don't think the skill of selling electricity to someone's house is really the same as the skill of an oil company."

CFOs Speak Out: Growing Overseas

John R. Biggar, Executive VP and CFO, PPL Corp.

John R. Biggar, Executive VP and CFO, PPL Corp.: "We are satisfied with the level of investment in international properties, which are essentially all electricity distribution businesses."

CFOs Speak Out: Enter the Mega Utility

Geoffrey S. Chatas, Executive VP and CFO, Progress Energy

Geoffrey S. Chatas, Executive VP and CFO, Progress Energy: "[We are] focusing on running efficient utilities in growing states that have favorable regulatory environments so that you have the opportunity to earn that kind of 12 to 13 percent return on equity on the utility business."

CFOs Speak Out: Playing LNG for All It's Worth

Neal E. Schmale, Executive VP and CFO, Sempra Energy

Neal E. Schmale, Executive VP and CFO, Sempra Energy: "Make sure you manage the risk. ... We're very careful in that area. ... We're not building the LNG plants until we have the output contracted for."