Business & Money
Sizable gains return to the market.
With an average appreciation of 18.9 percent since we last ran SNL Financial's dividend data , SNL's safe dividend picks appeared to do well for any market. However, like the fine golden years of the late '90s for all things technology, recent months have returned sizable gains to investors of energy stocks-not what one would expect from slow growth, dividend-paying electric and gas utilities that make up the majority of the SNL Energy universe.
National Fuel Gas
Judy Pensabene has joined the Republican staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as deputy chief counsel. She is returning to the committee, where she worked from 1990 to 1995, after serving as vice president of federal affairs at Constellation Energy Group.
Entergy announced that Peter P. Schneider has been hired as vice president of Nuclear Human Resources, a new position within the company. Schneider's prior experience includes stints at Human Resources Strategies and Solutions, Inc., Exelon, and PECO Energy.
Consultant blasts national effort, says standards themselves are the problem.
Concerted efforts by utilities, retail marketers and metering companies to establish uniform business practices by implementing national electronic data interchange standards, or EDI, as part of retail competition, are being undermined by the EDI standard itself, says Doug Houseman, director at Cap Gemini Hagler Bailly.
"It is a very big, nasty, complicated monster. There are a lot of people that do not know what they are doing," he says.
UNIVERSAL SERVICE ATTRACTS MUCH ATTENTION these days, both in energy and telecommunications. But how do you measure success? Do regulators decide when goals are met by looking across an industry, or should management make the call company by company?
Consider the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It identifies the maintenance of affordable, or "universal," service for low-income consumers as an explicit statutory goal. In the electric industry, virtually every piece of restructuring legislation and every regulatory decision to date has included a universal service provision.
UTILITY HOUSE CALLS. Michigan Gov. John Engler (R) signed into law a bill making it a felony to impersonate a utility employee to enter private property for criminal purposes. The new law calls for those convicted to be imprisoned for not more than two years and to pay a maximum fine of $1,000, or both.
ELECTRIC RESTRUCTURING. Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar (R) signed into law an electric restructuring bill for the state. Edgar noted that concerns over the bill were addressed by the state's two largest utilities, Commonwealth Edison and Illinois Power Co.
AT Washington Water Power, Bobby Schmidt was appointed director of the company, and Paul A. Redmond announced his retirement as chair and CEO. Redmond started with the company in 1965. Previously, Schmidt worked as an independent trader in Chicago.
MDU Resources Group Inc. has promoted Martin A. White from senior vice president, corporate development to president and CEO. White, who has been with the company since 1991, will replace retiring president H.J. Mellen Jr.
Robert L. Goocher was promoted to president of AGL Resources Service Co. from executive vice president and COO.