The Constellation Experience

Ring-fencing after the subprime meltdown.

When Électricité de France stepped in to buy Constellation Energy’s nuclear assets and help the company avoid bankruptcy, the Maryland Public Service Commission conditioned the sale on a set of ring-fencing provisions. The industry has been using such structures to protect ratepayers in complex and high-risk M&A transactions since the 1990s. The protection isn’t foolproof, however—and it can bring problematic regulatory trade-offs.

Fitch: Merchant Plants Prove Risky Investments

According to Fitch Investors Service, the absence of long-term power purchase agreements, coupled with the increased price volatility associated with short-term energy sales, likely will result in noninvestment grade ratings for most merchant projects.

In its new report, Power Projects in a Less Regulated World, Fitch examines power plants and how to evaluate this riskier class of projects. Now, the company would rate a good merchant power project in the 'BB' category.