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Regulatory reform options to revitalize the US natural gas value chain

Ruud Weijermars

Utilities Policy, 2012, vol. 21, issue C, 50-58

Abstract: The key question addressed here is whether US utilities can sustain their current natural gas deliveries, and fund growth, as strategically required for the clean energy transition. A case is made here for adjusting regulatory policy, as past and current policies have led to a steady profit decline for mid- and downstream US energy companies. Capital markets have rated several major energy companies as ‘junk bonds’, which means default risk is substantial from an investor perspective. Arguably, overly tight price regulation and declining credit ratings have pushed the industry into a decade-long downward business cycle, which started even before the Great Recession provided additional challenges. Recommendations are formulated for improving the US energy regulation of the mid and downstream natural gas segments in order to revitalize these key pillars of the energy transition program. Insights developed here based on the regulatory development and business performance of energy utilities in the US may provide a useful reference for liberalized and liberalizing energy markets elsewhere in the world.

Keywords: Natural gas; Regulatory reform; Rate cases; Regulation reform (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jup.2011.12.003

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