Frontlines & Op-Ed

Guns, Butter, or Green?

Utilities will face stark tradeoffs in meeting the next round of emissions controls.

Some utility execs gasp at the shear breadth of environmental proposals being bandied about during the past few weeks. Even the environmentalists are calling "historical" the extent to which different kinds of emissions will be regulated.

Letters to the Editor

Why not let the industry make its own decisions on how to meet economy-wide reductions in greenhouse-gas intensity as a percentage of GDP? It can be demonstrated easily that the land requirements for biomass to replace fossil fuels far exceed what is available in the world and the United States, including croplands, pastures, and meadows.

Frontlines

Can utility executives find happiness in back-to-basics?

Frontlines

Can utility executives find happiness in back-to-basics?

We've read the pitch a number of times in these very pages. Top investment bankers have told us that a "back-to-basics" strategy will never produce a high-enough return to please electric utility stockholders; that the only solution to bridge this "earnings gap" would involve a rash of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) between utilities.

Monopolists in Our Midst

What happens when economists and state regulators give up on electric restructuring?

It’s not to be taken lightly when several high-profile economists reverse themselves on electric competition—giving up on policies they had pushed for years. It’s also quite serious when regulators and legislators in pro-competitive states become willing to discuss a repeal of electric restructuring laws. These developments, seen over the fast few months, have set the industry buzzing.

A Better Merchant Mousetrap?

The failure of the Empire Connection spells trouble for private transmission projects.

It’s at the very heart of all policy initiatives for both electric generation and transmission: How do you attract the right amount of investment without creating an overbuilt market, or a boom-bust scenario? In recent months, utility executives, financiers, and policy-makers have been asking this question with even greater zeal than usual.

Letters to the Editor (December 2004)

While we are concerned about the effects of ratings linkage on regulated utilities, in no respect do we blame credit rating agencies. In fact, we strongly believe that the rating agencies are critical gatekeepers that point out for investors and regulators the potential linkages among holding company subsidiaries that could result in utility abuse or its credit downgrade.

The New, New Thing?

At a posh dinner event and conference, industry experts speculate on the issues that could affect the industry in 2005.

It was the most exclusive, and one might say, one of the most extraordinary dinners. Never have I seen so many prominent CEOs, regulators, and financial gurus all in one room, discussing the future of the electric industry.

Letters to the Editor / Corrections, Clarifications

Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

Robert Blohm's article, "Solving the Crisis in Unscheduled Power," () ignores a significant part of the power-scheduling paradigm-that is, it ignores transmission. Every power schedule not only includes load and generation but also a path to move the electricity between those points.

Frontlines

Moscow's ratification of the Kyoto protocol could pose problems for the United States.

Frontlines

Moscow's ratification of the Kyoto protocol could pose problems for the United States.

It could mark the biggest bungle of the last two administrations-the decision to walk away from the Kyoto Protocol rather than stay and negotiate to U.S. advantage. No one thought Russia would sign and put the treaty in force. But now that Russia's ratification appears imminent, policy wonks in America are scrambling to assess the impact.

Frontlines

Will a back-to-basics strategy meet investor expectations?

Frontlines

Will a back-to-basics strategy meet investor expectations?

It's an issue that is coming to the fore with greater force-the debate over how utilities should honor their obligation to stockholders. But this time there seems to be quite a difference of opinion over strategy-or so we found in our annual finance issue.