When it comes to media coverage, It just keeps getting more and more interesting for Texas electricity company Energy Future Holdings this week. First was the news that that the company formerly known at TXU was buying time to pursue bankruptcy deals for their various subsidiaries. That is huge news, but if that wasn’t enough the hits kept on coming all throughout this week.
Next up yesterday was a report in the blog of the Dallas Morning News that Luminent, the power generation arm of Energy Future Holdings, was engaging in an internet flame war with the Sierra Club over the air pollution of their coal generation plants. And getting into a flame war usually only increases the media coverage of the accusations, which is evidence by the DMN blog writing an article in the first place. So on top of the bankruptcy news, which has been bubbling around for years now and which looks inevitable, now Energy Future Holdings has an environmental group nipping at their heels.
Next up is the release that Oncor, Energy Future Holdings’s transmission and distribution arm, is collecting hundreds of millions of dollars for consumers to pay their expected federal taxes…only that they aren’t using the money to actually pay taxes. This is huge news because, well, it is essentially Energy Future Holdings collecting money from Texas electricity customers to repay their own massive debts. Because Energy Future Holdings has been losing money hand over fist for years, and are billions upon billions of dollars in debts, Oncor hasn’t actually had to pay any taxes to the government. But that certainly hasn’t stopped them from taking the money from consumers. If this is true, this is a huge PR blow to a company that is already on the ropes on pretty much every possible front. And while technically this practice is legal, almost no one will find their behavior moral. They’ll look like they’ve been pilfering extra money from their customers to stave off their creditors and bankruptcy.
And just as all of this news was released, Oncor’s public conference call for the quarter with investors has been announced for May 7th. Want to wager that there will be a lot more people paying attention to this call than usual?