Outnumbered by data

In your October issue of Electric Light & Power you authored an article on the Best 100 utility companies using Navigant`s FERC FORM 1 database. We are a holding company with 3 operating companies and noticed that you used operating companies in your analysis. I realize that this is how FERC requires the data to be reported, but other industry studies compile the operating companies into their appropriate holding company for analysis. Could you please inform us why EL&P decided to report the data by operating company?

Thanks.

Amy M. Petrillo,

Performance Management Manager

Allegheny Power

Greensburg, PA

This is a good question, and one we asked Navigant Consulting when we were first compiling the data. They explained that while summing the data for operating companies will, in some cases, provide reasonable results, in other cases, the results will likely be incorrect. For example, total revenues would not include unregulated data. Also, where the holding company holds more than one subsidiary filing a Form 1, sales for resale, transmission, and a variety of other data items will not be netted to reflect holding company consolidation.

Consolidating entries by the parent are not public and there is no way to estimate the effects without access to the actual companies books and records.

This is not to say, however, that the Top 100 Operating Performance industry report was perfect. To the contrary, some last-minute changes created errors that we did not catch before going to press. Namely:

Page 17, Table 1. Nuclear production costs-20 best plants: The total and average figures refer to the entire nuclear industry, not just to the 20 best plants.

Page 18, Table 4. Largest 100 utility generators: Coal & steam output figures were incorrect for all 100 companies. Also, a superfluous tab was inserted before the Total and Average figures at the bottom. Each should move one column to the left. Finally, each empty space or “0” for public power agencies should be an “NA,” as this data was not available for these companies.

Page 21, Table 5. Generating costs-best 100 companies: Several key mistakes made this ranking invalid. First, the total costs were added together, rather than averaged as they should have been, yielding an incorrect basis for ranking. Second, public power and investor-owned utilities report generation costs differently, so attempting to compare the two is hazardous at best.

We are working closely with Navigant Consulting to avoid these errors in next year`s Top 100 report. We regret any confusion or inconvenience these errors might have caused.

Or, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson, … “Doh!”

-MTB

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