Article, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy

Utilities? Relatively safe investments, sure, but …

U.S. utilities have traditionally been a safe bet for investors, and by and large they will continue to be in 2017. Still, there are worrisome undercurrents for the sector that deserve close attention as we approach a new year. So advises Fitch Ratings in its annual look at the credit-worthiness of investor-owned companies that provide households and businesses with electricity and natural gas. (Read More)

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Article, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy, Utilities and Providers

Canada’s Fortis makes inroads into U.S. market

From its remote headquarters in Newfoundland, Canada’s largest investor-owned utility is making inroads into the U.S. energy market. Fortis Inc. began trading on the New York Stock Exchange this month, after completing its acquisition of ITC Holdings, the biggest independent electric transmission company in the U.S., for $11.3 billion. (Read more)

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Article, Consumer, Energy, Utilities and Providers, Weather

Improvements help utilities respond quicker to hurricane storm damage

Hurricane Sandy dealt a devastating blow to the U.S. in 2012, leaving about $70 billion in damages, 147 people dead and millions without electricity, mostly in New York and New Jersey. The impact on the electric grid from Sandy’s storm surge and high winds on the Atlantic coast prompted utility executives and government officials to work more closely than ever to find new ways of coordinating their resources and strengthening infrastructure in response to storms. Four years later, those efforts are paying off. (Read more)

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Article, Climate, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy, Government and Politics, Regulations

Time for a carbon tax? A former Bush official says yes

Putting a price on carbon emissions remains a divisive topic in the USA, even as polls indicate considerable public support for actions to address climate change. Voters in Washington state may show the way  Nov. 8 when they decide on a referendum that would assess a carbon tax on coal, oil and natural gas, a move aimed at lowering emissions that contribute to climate change without digging deeply into people’s wallets. (Read more)

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Article, Consumer, Corporations, Economy / Finance, Energy

Oil companies slip in new list of leading energy firms

Integrated oil majors like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell once dominated the standings of the world’s leading energy companies, with assets, revenue and earnings far outpacing just about everyone else. That’s not the case anymore, as companies that sell electricity and refine crude oil into fuel are gaining ground, as seen in a new survey by S&P Global Platts, a provider of energy information and benchmark prices. (Read more)

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Article, Climate, Consumer, Economy / Finance, Government and Politics, Policy, Utilities and Providers

More are willing to pay to fight climate change, survey says

How much would you pay on your electric bill to combat climate change? Is $10 or $20 a month reasonable? $50 too much? Or, maybe you’re unwilling to shell out anything at all. A new survey offers some insight regarding the extent to which Americans consider climate change a legitimate threat and how much they’re willing to pay for government policies that would respond to the phenomena. (Read more)

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Consumer, Corporations, Energy, Podcast, Utilities and Providers

Columbia Energy Exchange: Exelon’s Chris Crane

Electric power companies across the U.S. are going through a period of unprecedented change. Low-cost natural gas, new technology, rapid expansion of renewables, and initiatives to reduce carbon emissions are some of the major factors shaking up the electricity sector. Moreover, for some power companies, keeping their nuclear power plants alive is another big challenge. On this episode of Columbia Energy Exchange, we welcome Chris Crane, the president and CEO of Exelon Corp., a Fortune 100 energy company with the most utility customers in the U.S., and the nation’s leading operator of nuclear reactors. Crane talks with host Bill Loveless about the ways in which he is piloting his company through this transformation. And on a timely note, they discuss a new clean energy standard in New York that would keep some nuclear power plants alive. (Listen here)

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Article, Climate, Consumer, Energy, People, Weather

Heat is on, but the power grid is holding

The retirement of coal and nuclear power plants in the U.S. over the last few years has raised concerns that the electric power industry might fail to deliver when demand for power heightens — such as during a blistering heat wave. But for the most part, that’s not the case this week as a so-called “heat dome” leaves the eastern and central parts of the U.S. sweltering with temperatures of 95 degrees or more and feeling as though it’s much hotter. (Read more)

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Article, Consumer, Economy / Finance, Energy, Technology, Utilities and Providers

Rooftop solar poses credit risk for utilities

When it comes to creditworthiness, electric utilities generally enjoy investment-grade ratings that make financing easier for these capital-intensive companies. But the popularity of residential rooftop solar systems is threatening to eventually put those favorable ratings at risk. So warns Fitch, one of the three major ratings agencies. (Read more)

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Consumer, Energy, Government and Politics, People, Podcast, Policy, Regulations, Utilities and Providers

Columbia Energy Exchange: Phil Sharp

Phil Sharp understands energy policy as well as anyone in Washington, having spent 20 years as one of the leading lawmakers on the topic and the last 11 as the president of Washington’s oldest think tank devoted exclusively to analysis of energy and the environment. Best of all, in my estimation, he comes from an era when Congress worked on a bipartisan basis to enact policies addressing concerns over the production of energy and how we consume it – and often did so under a lot of pressure. Phil recalls some of the biggest battles over energy policy on Capitol Hill, the dramatic changes in U.S. energy fortunes, and what we can learn from this experience. Among his new pursuits, Phil is joining the Center on Global Energy Policy as a fellow who will teach and perform research on climate…

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