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.
Philip Carroll Jr. returned to ScottishPower as a non-executive director. According to the Comtex News Network, Carroll left ScottishPower earlier in 2003 to assist with the rebuilding of infrastructure in post-war Iraq.
Chesapeake Utilities hired Joe Steinmetz as its director of Internal Audit. Steinmetz served in the same position with Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. and Dover Motorsports Inc. from 2001 to 2003 before being promoted to assisted controller.
Business & Money
Wall Street bankers say utilities are not effectively telling their story.
A close look at the effect of the dividend tax cut reveals a disappointing investor reaction.
While some predicted a very significant increase in price for utilities if dividend taxes were reduced, the actual price change data show a rather different picture.
The commission nails companies, but orders payments.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finally dealt with the many issues that arose out of the 2000/2001 California energy crisis. On June 25, FERC issued a slew of orders that settled some old disputes, gave a glimpse of the future, and offered insight into the commissioners' thinking.
Chicken Little has cornered the market on gas price doom and gloom, but the data is inconsistent on whether high gas prices are here to stay.
A near-universal consensus of alarm appears to be emerging concerning North American gas supply adequacy. The steady march upward of spot gas prices and NYMEX futures over the past year confirms this coalescence of market sentiment. Way back in June 2002, you could still buy Rocky Mountain wellhead production for about $1.25/MMBtu, although Eastern U.S. markets had already exceeded $3.00/MMBtu.
Can RTO market monitors really be independent?
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) initiatives on regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and standard market design give new prominence to the market monitoring institution (MMI), a novel regulatory tool never before contemplated in legislation.1
NRG's bankruptcy is challenging creditors' resolve to back merchants until power prices rebound.
A common complaint in the last few months by would-be buyers of merchant assets has been that all the choice power plants have been pledged as collateral to commercial banks in order to stave off bankruptcy. That's why not many transactions have taken place, merchant asset buyers say, as everything else in the market isn't worth the price being offered.
For small to midsize utilities, the costs and burdens of being a stand-alone investor-owned utility merit considering the alternatives.
A pressing question for many utilities-particularly small to midsize utilities-is whether to remain a standalone publicly owned company at their current form and size. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?