I think Moody's got it wrong because they discounted the mettle and determination of regulators, elected officials, not-for-profit entities, and the people they represent, to continue to toss banana peels into the utility feeding frenzy that threatens to bleed them dry. We're quite creative and getting smarter every day. :-)
Although the actual report is for subscribers only, an article in Platts tell us that Moody's has concluded that utility holding company transmission subsidiaries have a stranglehold on regional transmission operators.
"FERC transmission regulation provides forward-looking formula rates, true-up mechanisms and premium authorized returns on equity. Transmission owners face limited revenue risk, owing to strong counterparty relationships with the operating utilities and the regional transmission organization," Moody's said.
Moody's chose to bat aside the current parade of ROE complaints at FERC. Perhaps Moody's thinks that ridiculous petitions like WIRES' request to stop the complaints actually has merit? Moody's needs to take a gander at the RM13-18 docket and face reality. The money buffet isn't going to last forever.
And Moody's totally checked out on the one thing that utilities, FERC and transmission operators have no control over:
The exploding resistance to new transmission in the form of landowners, ratepayers and local elected officials.
FERC's "premium return" means nothing when transmission can't be built due to overwhelming opposition that equates to political poison, or when ratepayers accept their responsibility to examine and challenge transmission rates they must pay.
But, that's okay, Moody's. We're patient, and we're used to being on the cutting edge of new trends, instead of running behind trying to shore up failing business models.