Buyer and seller beware

The mergers between Pacificorp and MidAmerican Holdings, and Duke Energy and Cinergy – both announced in May – look to be just the start of a wave of consolidation in the US utility sector. And utility mergers tend to lead to power-plant sales by companies seeking to optimise their portfolios – which, in turn, is likely to bring activity in the hedging market, particularly of natural gas, as well as electricity.

Yet the question of how either the buyer or the seller of a generating facility