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John Utley- Energy Man It you are anywhere near John Utley it is hard to miss him. Six feet three, wavy hair, long stride, and with a smile hiding just behind his eyes—they all make him a figure easy to notice and to remember. However, it is John's professional specialty that makes him unique in Haskins & Sells. As partner in charge of the Firm's Public Utilities Department, he directs a group of specialists who are responsible for coordinating and developing our practice relating to public utilities across the country. John and four others working with him are located in Washington, D.C., although they are organizationally part of Executive Office. Staff members in numerous practice offices relate closely to John and his management group in the performing of audit, tax, MAS and other special services for utility clients, John's job in H&S is different because of the special nature of the industries that have become his life. Customarily, clients of the Firm are served by practice offices at or near the client location, with participating work by other offices where the client has branches or subsidiaries. But public utilities, being regulated by state commissions and by federal bodies, face common problems of financial management unique to regulated industries. In solving these problems it is important to have available a compact, expert group within the Firm to provide answers which have national significance. Furthermore, the public utilities are, as the term suggests, the people's business. And their accounting is subject to scrutiny by government officials, opinion-makers, pressure groups and the man in the street who pays the nation's utilities bills. This creates the need for a special kind of expertise in financial management, where the objective is to analyze in great depth and with foresight the operations of companies on whose continued fiscal good health our highly technical society depends. Discussing utilities accounting in general and electric power companies in particular. 22 John Utley is frank with H&S Reports about his deep concern for the future: 'The public utilities industry is probably in the worst straits today that it has ever been in." he says."The main problem is the unavailability of capital at reasonable cost. We are a country that runs on electrical energy. Without it, in sufficient quantity, we are nothing. "The market value of utilities stocks is down," he continues, "because people don't have much confidence in public utilities stocks and so they don't buy. But the utilities must have the capital to provide for our needs tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. "There are 214 privately owned Class A and B electric utilities in this country, and the capital requirements for them are immense. There arc other, smaller companies, but these 214 are the backbone of the industry. In the next twelve years it is estimated that they will need upward of $293 billion in external financing and S160 billion in internal financing. That outside money can come in only if utilities are earning the returns necessary to attract such capital. "In the past, it was commonly believed that to defend the public interest you took an adversary position toward the utilities.The idea was that 'low is good'—meaning that low rates were in the public interest. But now we are in an era where the proper notion of public interest, I am convinced, must center on a level of rates which will assure the continued viability of our system of power supply. This obviously means higher rates, "The plant planning and building time has stretched out. It takes longer now to build a facility than it used to, and there is more delay because of the environmental requirements that companies must satisfy. So the need for planning well ahead is much greater than it was a few years back." What is the role of our Firm's Public Utilities Department in this complex of regulated business? "The very reason we in H&S are involved in this industry is to provide a broad public function," John says decisively. "We deal with our own client companies, of course, But we also deal with federal regulatory bodies like the Federal Power Com mission, the state regulatory agencies, the counties and municipalities, and with other interest groups. We want to remain and be known as expert, impartial, nonpartisan
John Utley -- energy man
Utley, John F.
Benning, Jerome A.
Queenan, John W.
Harrington, Emmett S.
Gellein, Oscar S.
Hahne, Robert L.
Shepperd, Thomas E.
Balluff, Fred H.
Nixon, John W.
Haskins & Sells. Executive Office
Haskins & Sells. Houston Office
Haskins & Sells. Washington, D. C. Office
|Abstract||Photograph not included in Web version.|
H&S Reports, Vol. 12, (1975 winter), p. 22-23
|Source||Originally published by: Haskins & Sells|
|Rights||Copyright and permission to republish held by: Deloitte|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|