Bank of America

Market Resurgence

Banks are reshaping the energy-trading landscape. When the dust settles, utility companies will face different strategic horizons.

Utility executives face volatile energy markets, skyrocketing fuel prices, and changing federal energy policies. How are utilities benefiting from the turnaround in energy trading?

A Constellation Of Risks

Will the deal with FPL serve the best interests of ratepayers? 

Even as many hope that repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA) will lead to more efficient and rational corporate structures, they also fear that repeal could foster irrational exuberance, with mergers that fail spectacularly. Maybe that explains why every new utility merger announcement is being met with a much higher level of scrutiny than in past decades.

The Utility Sector: A Wall Street Takeover?

Financial players bring credit depth to energy markets, but will they play by the rules?

Financial players bring credit depth to energy markets, but will they play by the rules?

The center of gravity for energy marketing and trading activity is moving from Houston to Wall Street. Some major financial institutions already have plunged into the market, while others are testing the waters, gearing up to participate in a bigger way. Already their impact is being felt, and it is most definitely welcome.

Energy Trading: Down But Not Out

The speculative electricity trading industry has a bad case of rigor mortis, but current efforts might breathe new life into the practice.

Trading is dead. At least that’s what some analysts are saying about the electricity markets. “Trading died with Enron on Dec. 2, 2001,” says Mark Williams, an energy risk management expert at Boston University. Whether trading is really dead or not, some signs of a rebirth are beginning to emerge.

The Fourth Wave

Are banks better at trading power than utilities?

Bank of America's recent request to FERC to be allowed to trade power was yet one more reminder that a whole new class of companies are quietly positioning themselves to dominate what's left of the energy trading space after the departure of traders like Enron and Aquila.

Power Prices Today: Growing More Unpredictable

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.

Even the volatility is volatile. And that can play havoc with hedging.

Jeff Skilling resigned from Enron over a year ago-after power prices in markets serving California had fallen 90 percent in three months.

But in July, Bank of America won approval from the Treasury Department to offer cash-settled electricity derivatives-with a former Enron regional director at the head of the desk.

So what has changed, and what hasn't?

Special Report

They see utilities responding, but fear outlying areas are overlooked.

Despite reports of year 2000-readiness from virtually all electric utilities, and a promise from the U.S. Department of Energy to pressure the laggards, some customers still fear being left in the dark on Jan. 1, 2000. That view may surprise some, but it emerged clearly from the conference held in Chicago August 5-6 by the North American Electric Reliability Council, to update utilities and their customers on electric industry progress in Y2K problem mitigation.