In yesterday's post, I indicated that one of our nuclear units would be shut down through at least September 2009. I learned today, that the announcement was made at the end of the day on Monday, after the Stock Market had closed for the day. The length of the shutdown (one year plus), and the potential costs ($330M plus) are considered material statements, and if the announcement was made while the market was open, the SEC would have suspended trading of our stock.
As evidence of these material statements, our stock closed down more than 4% yesterday (after dipping down more than 6% during the day) even though the market was up more than 2%, and our peer utilities had slight gains. So today, our investor relations group was again in New York to explain what the numbers mean, how much of the costs will be covered by insurance and rates, and that there is expected to be little impact to our 2009 earnings.
It is a reminder that in these difficult economic times, what and how things are reported can have a significant impact on the finances of companies. Its not just about electricity and what customers pay. It is also about one of the largest utility companies in the nation, that employs more than 20,000 people. It is also about investors, about the value of the company and the ability to raise capital to make infrastructure improvements, which in turn helps support the economy.
As Beth indicated in an e-mail to me today, we tend to think in terms of immediate impacts such as work schedules and such, but the true impact is much wider and affects many people. So as we experience the roller coaster ride of the current economy, try to not only focus on your immediate impacts, but give thought to the downstream impacts. It may be a neighbor that works for a supplier to your company, it may be a grandmother that has her savings in investments that are under performing, it may be a friend or family member that lost a job.
Try to dig as deep as you can to support your local food bank, Toys For Tots, and local charities during this difficult time and holiday season.