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ELP Volume 80 Issue 3
Prevailing economic uncertainties have affected most, if not all, sectors of U.S. industry. The electric industry is no exception.
Wherever you look there is shrapnel from the Enron disaster: executives pleading the Fifth before Congress, laid off employees scoffing at the "emotional" interview with former CEO Ken Lay's wife, even an unopened Enron ethics manual being sold on eBay.
The British gas and home services company, Centrica PLC, announced its acquisition of NewPower Holdings, a U.S. retailer of gas and electricity, on February 23. Actually it may be more accurate to say NewPower cried uncle and acquiesced to Centrica.
Enron was once dubbed the most innovative corporation in America and was clearly one of the most admired energy companies in the world. Today Enron has become a dirty word, with the company and its executives having come to personify corporate greed and malfeasance.
Solutions to avoid reoccurring blackouts and energy shortages have typically focused on the need for generating more power. Ironically, with the increase in construction of new power plants over the last decade we now have a surplus of power, yet the energy shortages and blackouts persist.
The U.S. electric power industry will continue to face major uncertainties in growth, deregulation, and environmental compliance challenges. The Energy Information Administration projects that as many as 1,300 new power plants, representing nearly 400 GW of capacity, will be needed by 2020 to meet demand and to off-set plant retirement.