Generation Assets: How to Derive Greater Value

Learning from Wal-Mart.

Learning from Wal-Mart.

It's bad enough that merchant generating companies are struggling under the weight of regulatory, accounting, and public scrutiny in an era of shattered shareholder confidence. To make things worse, over the past few years generation was overbuilt on speculation that sparks spreads would be maintained and the economy would grow. But sparks spreads have shrunk, and given the national economic downturn, energy use is also down.

Squeezing Juice from Plants

Asset optimization is a favored utility strategy in an economic downturn.

Asset optimization is a favored utility strategy in an economic downturn.

Generation plant construction has gone down with the economy. "Our project finance pipeline is as dry as I have seen it," says energy analyst Jerry Pfeffer of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, speaking at a recent energy conference in New Orleans. He predicts it will take at least a year or two until new construction starts up again in any significant manner.

Turning Capital to Wealth: A Ranking of U. S. Utilities

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.

Special Report

Hoecker, Trebing see advantages in economies of scale.

Will New York's proposed independent system operator fall victim to the FERC's evolving RTO process?

"It has some conceivable drawbacks," FERC Chairman James J. Hoecker told attendees at the 30th Annual Institute of Public Utilities Conference. "One is that it's a single-state ISO and in the final analysis, regional transmission organizations probably need to cover broader geographical areas."

Hoecker used the forum at the Dec.


My electric company, Potomac Electric Power Co., has announced a joint venture with RCN Corp. of Princeton, N.J., to offer local and long-distance telephone service to callers in Washington, D.C., and nearby areas, plus cable television and high-speed connections to the Internet. With stockholder money, PEPCO would compete head-on against Bell Atlantic, which won approval from the Federal Communications Commission on Aug. 14 for its $25-billion merger with NYNEX.

Reporting the story, The Washington Post quoted PEPCO President John M.