Fortnightly Magazine - March 2007

People

(March 2007) Constellation Energy named Kevin W. Hadlock vice president, investor relations, and Robert L. Gould vice president, corporate communications. Subsidiary Constellation NewEnergy appointed Emily Neill as business development manager. Dynegy Inc. announced several organizational changes related to the company’s proposed combination with LS Power. Robert W. Best, chairman, president, and CEO of Atmos Energy Corp., was elected chairman of the American Gas Foundation’s board of trustees for 2007. And others...

A New Vintage of Investor

Rothschild investment banker Roger Wood explains why those new infrastructure funds are hot on utilities.

He was quite literally the toast of last year’s EEI Finance conference. Using his bank’s diverse resources (Rothschild vineyards in France), he arranged an unforgettable wine tasting that was a big hit with utility executives. Roger Wood, the head of Rothschild’s Power & Utilities Group in North America, is one of the few true white knights on Wall Street. Whereas many banks have developed businesses that can conflict with their utility clients’ interests, Wood says Rothschild’s bankers “live and die by providing long-term independent advice.”

California's Green Wall

A new law dampens coal-by-wire prospects.

A 2007 law essentially prohibits California utilities from signing long-term contracts for power, including those from out of state, unless they emit less than 1,000 pounds of CO2/MWh of electricity produced. While the law does not specifically bar coal-fired generation, the limit is set low enough to rule out all coal-power plants. A modern, highly efficient natural gas-fired plant barely would qualify. These measures, plus the new carbon-cap law going into effect by 2012, have sent utilities—large and small, private as well as municipal or city-owned—into a frenzy as they scramble to find alternatives to coal to meet their future demand.

The Top Utility Stocks: New Challenges Ahead

Utilities showed strong gains last year, but other industries are gaining ground.

The Dow Jones Utilities Index posted another year of solid gains in 2006. As might be expected, in connection with both the near-term and longer-term historical investor performance of the utility sector, there’s a story within the story. Further, this performance history provides a context against which the impact of both current and emerging issues can be assessed.

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