Will the industry be able to meet capital investment and growth expectations?
Robert W. Gee is the president of Gee Strategies Group LLC, an energy and utilities consulting firm. He previously served as the chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and as an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 gave states a new federally enforceable right to access holding company books and records, but concern remains that some of these initiatives may run counter to the goal of capital attraction.
On Aug. 1, 2005, one week before President Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities initiated an investigation. Its purpose: to determine whether to adopt additional measures to protect ratepayers as a consequence of the imminent repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) that would be effectuated by the president’s signature. Later this year, the board may decide to adopt new measures limiting under what conditions a utility holding company would be permitted to acquire a New Jersey electric or gas utility.
Some of the options being weighed include limiting non-utility parent company investments to no more than 25 percent of aggregate asset value, and mandating a number of independent board seats at the utility company level. This is one example of how states are looking into expanding their reach into areas previously committed primarily to federal jurisdiction under the now repealed PUHCA.