April 11, 2005
California Hires Saber to Advise on Energy, Hold Investor Calls
By Eddie Baeb
April 11California hired Saber Partners LLC to advise the state on its energy policy and assist with investor communications as part of efforts to increase investment in the most-populous U.S. state’s power industry.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration is studying the possibility of building and renovating electricity transmission lines that would enable California to import more power from other states. The Republican governor also wants new power plants to be built in California to avoid the type of shortages that resulted in blackouts in 2000 and 2001.
Saber, which advised the state in 2001 during the energy crisis, plans to host a conference call with investment analysts and state officials in the next few weeks to discuss the state’s energy plan, according to Chief Executive Officer Joseph Fichera.
“The administration wants to be pro-active in getting support from the private sector for the energy needs of the state of California,” Fichera said in a telephone in interview.
California suffered blackouts in 2000 and 2001 when electricity was shut off to areas on a rotating basis because of power shortages. Demand for power in the state is now growing at about 2 percent annually, and the state’s energy commission has said power supplies in Southern California could again fall short this summer if weather is hotter than normal.
“California is moving forward with a comprehensive action plan to provide an adequate and stable supply of electricity at reasonable prices,” Joseph Desmond, the state’s deputy energy secretary, said in a press release issued by Saber. “As Wall Street and others learn more about our program, investment in California will grow.”
Desmond didn’t return a call to his office.
Texas, New Jersey
New York-based Saber has advised state commissions in Texas and New Jersey on transactions for utility companies issuing bonds that are repaid by a special charge on customer electricity bills. Saber also worked with Blackstone Group LP in 2001 advising former California Governor Gray Davis’s administration during the state’s energy crisis. Saber conducted investor conference calls at that time, and helped state energy officials review various proposals including a plan for the state to buy transmission lines.
Fichera declined to comment on the terms of Saber’s new contract with the state.
–With reporting by Greg Chang in San Francisco. Editor: Williams.