Utility deals resume after 18 months of austerity.
There’s a buzz growing in the industry. You hear it at trade shows, where product and service companies are talking about RFPs and contracts again. You hear it at conferences and meetings, where executives and regulators are discussing plans for big-ticket capital expenditures and corporate mergers. And you hear it on Wall Street, where finance executives are managing a steady pace of deals.
The buzz is growing because people see a light at the end of the tunnel. The Great Recession officially ended sometime in 2009, and America seems to be moving forward again.
Arguably, utility companies are the first to know about any big turn in the economy. And indeed, utilities are reporting a substantial uptick in electricity demand—among residential consumers, and even more encouraging, among industrial customers. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on September 8 that total U.S. electricity consumption in the first half of 2010 rose 4.2 percent, compared to the first half of 2009, with annual industrial sales projected to increase 6 percent this year.