A Solar & Natural Gas Partnership?

December 5, 2013 14:05 by Bill Conway in Cooperatives, Energy, Regulation, Renewables, Utilities  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)
A Solar & Natural Gas Partnership? [More]

Justice Department Clears Merger of AA and US Airways

November 14, 2013 09:57 by Clayton Reeves in Capital Markets, M&A, Regulation  //  Tags: , , , , ,   //   Comments (0)
As reported in Deal Book, the Justice Department has cleared the $11 billion merger of American Airlines and US Airways. This paves the path towards creating the world's largest airline. The merger comes at the end of a tough period for airlines, which has seen high fuel prices, bankruptcies and labor issues. This is a new step in the industry's deregulation, and leaves only a few airlines that control the bulk of domestic and international flights. The remaining giants are American, Delta, United and United States domestic flight behemoth Southwest. The Justice Department claims that this merger will foster competition among market operators, but not everyone agrees. Transportation economics professor George Hoffer, from the University of Richmond, stated that the merger effectively removed one competitor from the market. He added that this could result in fare increases in many markets and fewer flights.  Investors, on the other hand, were obviously in favor of the deal, which creates a more formidable airline in the combined entity. All airline stocks were higher Tuesday, indicating that the market may agree with Dr. Hoffer on who wins from this deal. Read the full article here.

Laclede Gas Purchase of Missouri Gas Energy Approved

July 18, 2013 17:28 by Clayton Reeves in Cooperatives, M&A, Natural Gas, Regulation, Utilities  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)
Yesterday, state utility regulators approved the combination of Missouri's two largest natural gas companies. The Missouri Public Service Commission unanimously sent an agreement through that allows Laclede Gas Co. to purchase Missouri Gas Energy. The combined entity will have more than 1.1 million customers. The deal prevents Laclede Gas from seeking a general rate increase in its current service area until October 2015.  However, through the MGE territory, Laclede could seek an immediate rate hike. Read the full story here.

The Rise of Private Public Partnerships

July 18, 2013 14:53 by Bill Conway in Capital Markets, Economy, Energy, M&A, Natural Gas, Private Equity, Regulation, Telecom, Utilities, Water  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
Establishing Private Public Partnerships (P3) should have the attention of many municipal organizations across the country since, even in good economic conditions, infrastructure assets are not the highest and best use of a cities limited resources. [More]

Best to go Nuclear in the BRICs

February 12, 2013 15:08 by Bill Conway in Energy, Regulation  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
Considering 44 of the 50 nuclear facilities under construction are being built in the BRICs, do we need to rethink the way we regulate new nuclear plants in America? Utility companies have long argued for the inclusion of construction related costs in rates, but this has been resisted in many jurisdictions. Duke Energy’s recent announcement that it will retire a nuclear power plant in Florida rather than pay the repair bill, casts doubt over the role of the nuclear power industry as we have know it in this country. [More]

The Power of Natural Gas

January 31, 2013 11:24 by Bill Conway in Cooperatives, Energy, Engineering & Construction, Regulation  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
The enhanced natural gas extraction technologies and the resulting abundant supply and attractive pricing have many finally embracing the natural gas market. However, market participants need not to lose focus on the benefits of a diversified generation portfolio and the fact the current natural gas delivery pipeline infrastructure is not sufficient to support the "gas boom". [More]

Politics, Power & Grid Investments

January 10, 2013 09:52 by Bill Conway in Energy, Engineering & Construction, Regulation  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)
Modernizing the electric grid should be a top priority of our country, as much of the existing infrastructure is “past its prime” and is “stressed” in many areas. The effects of Super Storm Sandy highlighted weaknesses in the system that need to be addressed to ensure the continued flow of electricity. [More]

Coal Transportation Rates to the Electric Power Sector

December 6, 2012 13:57 by Bill Conway in Cooperatives, Energy, Regulation  //  Tags: , ,   //   Comments (0)
The transportation cost for coal from mines to generation facilities via rail  increased 46% from 2001-2010, or 4.3% annually, with the largest annual rate of increase in the southern Appalachian region.  However, increases in commodity costs outpaced transportation cost increases.  To read more, click here.  

Manufacturers: EPA regulations Will Severely Harm Economic Growth

Further regulations on manufacturers in a challenging economic environment will cause a ripple effect, having a negative effect on job creation and growth opportunities, in addition to the staggering cost of compliance.  To read more on the subject, click here.  

Dividend Battle May Force Consensus - Utilities benefit from current low rate

August 20, 2012 15:30 by Bill Conway in Accounting & Tax, Regulation  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)
The outcome of the battle over tax reform and the resolution of the expiring tax cuts could impact how investor owned utilities secure future financing.  The timing of this potential change is not ideal, as utilities are incurring higher cost to develop and build infrastructure, in addition to complying with environmental and regulatory mandates.  As referenced in the article, utility stocks are historically known for above average dividend yields, creating a more efficient debt and equity or balanced capital structure for public utilities.  However, raising the capital gains tax rate on dividend paying stocks could reduce investor appeal, thus reducing a utilities ability to issue new shares and increasing the reliance on debt to fund future projects and expansion opportunities.   To learn more, click here.  

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