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Recent Publications

Chicago Energy Associates LLC clients recognize our deep commitment to Energy Industry thought leadership and they rely on us to advance industry strategy and research topics. Our professional work is widely published in respected industry journals and general business publications.

Contractor Competition Delivering Lower Costs to U.S. Utilities

By James M. Seibert, published in Pipeline and Gas Journal, December 2018

"Electric and gas utility executives, and regulators are increasingly focused on the cost of the capital expenditures (capex) in transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure. Total capex across the U.S. energy delivery complex is about $120 billion per year (Figure 1), and commonly more than three times larger than..."

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Storm Clouds Forming: The Coming Dividend Stress at America’s Electric Utilities

By James M. Seibert, published in Public Utilities Fortnightly, May 2012

"Awareness is growing that the U.S. government’s fiscal, tax, and monetary policies over the past decade have significantly affected the underlying health of numerous industries, most notably in the mortgage banking, housing, and health care sectors. Policy missteps have often created perverse incentives to make specific investments that obscured an industry’s economic well-being or swamped its future financial performance. There’s now a growing concern that similar patterns might be at work in the electricity industry and might portend negative impacts on dividends and cash flows in the coming decade...."

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Getting Real About Our Energy Policy, or Lack of One

By James M. Seibert, published in The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2011

"Energy use is deeply correlated to national output, living standards and wealth. That the U.S. comprises approximately 5% of the world's population and consumes 25% of the world's energy is a badge of achievement, not disgrace. Greater energy efficiency only leads to greater, not less, energy use. In the 19th century improving steam-engine efficiency led to cheaper coal, which led to wider use in locomotives, more iron and steel production, and electricity generation in a virtuous cycle of growth. More efficient electric power plants didn't lead to declining consumer electricity spending..."

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Tax Burdens and Barriers - Where Tax Rates are High, Grid Investments Suffer

By James M. Seibert, published in Public Utilities Fortnightly, May 2011

"Industry interest in transmission and distribution (T&D) network modernization and the ubiquitous smart grid seemingly could not be higher. The infrastructure security challenge that developed in the wake of September 11th, 2001 and the August 2003 blackout elevated the modernization topic, and it has more recently become a white-hot industry need that has been supercharged by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...:"

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Paradox of Thrift - Economic Barriers Complicate Transmission and Distribution Modernization By Jeffrey Cummings and James M. Seibert, published in Public Utilities Fortnightly, July 2009

"The U.S. transmission and distribution (T&D) system is undergoing a once-in-a-generation revitalization that has generally been welcomed by electric utilities and consumers alike. These significant Investments will certainly place upward pressure on rates, and this pressure is increasing the scrutiny stakeholders are giving to every element of a utility’s cost-of-service (COS). This renewed scrutiny is appropriate because every dollar of a utility’s COS represents an economic resource that can potentially fund investments. ..."

Jeffrey Cummings:                         James Seibert:

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The Pulse of Unity - The Market-to-Book Ratio as a Vital Sign of Utility Health

By James M. Seibert, published in Public Utilities Fortnightly, January 2009

"Shareholders and directors of electric and gas utilities need a consistent, credible, and intuitively clear way to evaluate how management is marshalling the company's resources and to gauge management's contribution to overall results. They need a single performance measure to summarize-as well as any one measure can- how the utility is performing both in absolute and relative terms and what the owners and stakeholders should expect in the future..."

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