Which are the most and least consistently profitable electric utilities in the world? Hint: the biggest losers all lost on nukes. But the biggest winners may surprise you.
Following up on Southern Company CEO Thomas A. Fanning’s brag that “We are a great, big company from an energy production standpoint,” I looked in the Forbes Global 2000 to see which are the biggest electricities in the world. Indeed, Southern Company (SO) is the biggest in the U.S. and number 6 in the world for 2012. But what about the rest, and what about previous years? Here’s a graph of profits for the top 40 electric utilities from 2006 through 2012. SO is the blue line muddling along in the middle:
Graph by John S. Quarterman from
What’s that dark red line dropping way below the rest? Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), owner of the Fukushima nuclear plants. And the red line starting at the top and ending up near the bottom? E.ON, the company that owns most of Germany’s nuclear plants, as Germany shifts away from nuclear energy, after Cheronobyl and now Fukushima. The blue line that ends up as low as E.ON? Korea Electric Power (KEP), also an owner of nuclear plants. All the big losers are nuke owners.
What about the winners? The light green line ending up second by profits is Electricité de France (EDF), also an owner of nuclear plants, but one which has not yet had a major accident.
But what’s that purple line that starts near the top and ends up at the top?