Utilities Put New Construction on Hold

With energy companies delivering weak earnings statements to Wall Street and the cost of credit rising as a result of recent credit downgrades, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently expressed concerns before a Senate committee that new power plant construction will fall behind, exacerbating current problems with the nation's transmission grids. Energy firms have put on hold plans to build almost 92,000 MW of construction since the start of 2002, according to Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Ala.), and most of those shelved projects were located in the West, where power shortages continue to plague energy users. Despite the bleak outlook FERC presented to the committee last week, however, some Wall Street analysts still believe there is hope.

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