What's a Utility?
Never before have investors known less about what their company is up to.
How many different types of "utility" companies can you name? Which ones would you trust the most to double or triple your investment nest egg? Which ones make you nervous?
New technologies cloud the future for the traditional electric utility, but offer hope to the gas industry in boosting residential demand.
Investors apparently were paying attention in January when a Web-based analyst predicted Plug Power's stocks could gain 10,000 percent or more by 2010. Before month's end, the fuel cell manufacturer, which doesn't expect to turn a profit before 2004, saw a ninefold increase from the $16 closing day share price at its October initial public offering. That month Avista Corp.
How 165 lawyers were mostly on the wrong side in the biggest electric merger to date.
With Warren Buffet buying up MidAmerican Energy as his own personal utility, and Bill Gates taking a stake in Avista, the standard electric merger starts to look tame.
For that and other reasons, I believe it's all but certain that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will soon OK the electric industry's biggest-ever merger, combining American Electric Power Co. with Central and South West Corp.
The Electric Power Supply Association elected B. Kent Burton, senior vice president of policy and international government relations for Ogden Energy Group, its chair for 2000. Kenneth E. Randolph, senior vice president and general counsel for Dynegy Inc., was named EPSA's first vice chair, and Bill Mack, president and chief executive officer of Coastal Power Co., was named second vice chair.
EPSA also named Donn Salvosa manager of government affairs and Shannon Gordon manager of finance and administration.