Industry hopes its centralized assets aren't in the crosshairs.
When the topic of U.S. energy security comes up, OPEC typically springs to mind. Sure enough, following the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, politicians and energy executives quickly rallied before the public for less reliance on oil supply from OPEC member nations, and for bolstering domestic energy production.
Electric Executives' Forum
Summer 2001: Are You Ready?
Demand-side programs are all the rage as utilities scramble to find power to serve peak loads.
Be prepared. Power interruptions are not necessarily expected -nevertheless, be prepared-but by God, line up all the weapons you can to prevent blackouts in the first place.
Some wanted to shut down New York's power markets. Then cooler heads prevailed.
An alternative measure of performance - not based on dividends, earnings growth or P/E ratios.
How to place a value on a utility company? That is the question.
The traditional models no longer work very well. Dividend discount models will not work well if utilities cut dividends and buy back stock to return capital to the shareholders. Earnings growth offers no reliable performance gauge either, as utilities acquire or divest large amounts of capital. Restructuring charges often become necessary to shift resources to their best use.
Online services are popping up - for commodity trading, retail marketing and back-office billing. But is the Web right for every application?
A recent study by Connecticut-based META Group Inc. finds that while less than 5 percent of all utility commerce will be conducted electronically in 1999, 30 percent of customer service and retail bill payments will flow over the Internet by 2004. That prediction highlights a torrent of Web activity in recent months, from power trading online to retail solicitations to electronic customer billing and payment.
THE SEPT. 1, 1998 ISSUE OF Public Utilities Fortnightly contained an article, "The Fortnightly 100," which promised to reveal America's "most efficient utilities." The authors used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to analyze historical operating and financial data for 140 utility holding companies. While DEA can be a useful tool for data analysis, used indiscriminately it can lead to misleading conclusions.
The board of Ameren Corp. elected Charles D. Naslund assistant vice president, power operations. Naslund will help manage operation of the power plants of Union Electric, now known as AmerenUE.
The Texas Public Utility Commission named Saralee Tiede the new director of the Office of Customer Protection. Tiede will replace Bill Magness, who was chosen a year ago to direct the PUC's customer education and response program.
Chairman James J. Hoecker named David P. Boergers to the post of secretary of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Credit card companies say they're seeing an increase in volume for energy transactions despite claims by utilities that it costs more for them to receive monthly bills on plastic.
As proof of their desire not to take the credit card route, the utilities that allow customers to pay with a card don't always promote that option.
Holding utilities back are the transaction fees they pay for bill processing. These fees can run as high as 3 percent or more. If a customer doesn't pay the full card balance each month, the servicing bank profits even more.
THE SUMMER OF 1996 OPENED COOLER THAN normal in June and July, cutting electric sales. When prices for natural gas did not fall as expected, as a counterbalance Consolidated Edison Co. of New York entered a combined gas-conversion and weather-heading transaction with power marketer Aquila Energy, giving Con Ed some measure of protection against further revenue shortfalls in August.
HAS DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN STATE HOUSE AND COMmission stalled electric industry restructuring efforts in New York?
Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly, insists the Legislature is busy working on comprehensive restructuring legislation for the state. He has expressed dismay at efforts of the New York Public Service Commission, which is restructuring the industry utility by utility.
Silver believes legislation offers the best chance to introduce competition quickly and efficiently, rather than through multiple, individual restructuring plans.