Leveraging our wide experience in the energy markets, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon Energy professionals provide a wide array of advisory services that address the strategic, financial, reputational, regulatory and legal needs of wholesale crude oil, natural gas, coal, chemicals, and renewable energy producers.
How We Help
Through FTI Consulting’s subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, we provide expert economic advice on competition policy issues in the energy sector. Our staff of economists, econometricians and industry experts use a combination of leading industrial organisation theory and sophisticated economic and econometric analyses to analyse a variety of issues that often arise in antitrust cases, including defining relevant markets, assessing the potential effects of alleged anti-competitive behaviour, performing complex merger simulations, evaluating merger-related efficiencies, and estimating damages. Major energy companies active in wholesale markets are our clients. Our professionals have deep knowledge of economics and institutional structures across all segments of the energy industry, including the specific characteristics of the wholesale segment. Clients seek our advice for:
- Merger Analysis. Approval for an energy merger in Europe comes from either the European Commission or a national authority. Through our subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, we are often involved in such mergers because we offer a unique combination of competition economics and energy industry expertise. We assist our clients with an analysis of the relevant energy market in which the transaction takes place and market share calculations. We assess the competitive framework and possible theories of harm based on unilateral or coordinated effects, as well as potential efficiencies following the transaction. Our team performs merger simulations to estimate price effects of the merger and can provide an assessment of the remedies, such as the divestment of certain assets that are needed to countervail any anti-competitive effects.
- Abuse of Dominance. Companies that are dominant may abuse their dominant position by excluding others from the market or artificially raising prices to dampen competition. To corroborate such abuse of dominance, a competition authority first has to prove the dominant position by determining the relevant market, both at the product level as well as at the geographic level in which the company competes. Secondly, it has to collect evidence on the actual abuse. The Energy experts in FTI Consulting’s subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, are competition economists with significant experience in advising companies on abuse of dominance investigations. We can advise on market definition, especially in light of the evolving interconnectedness of wholesale electricity markets, and we can assess the potential effects of the alleged abusive behaviour on competitors and consumers.
- Anti-Competitive Agreements. Companies can distort fair competition by cooperating with competitors, for instance, by fixing prices or dividing the market so that each company has a monopoly in part of the market. On behalf of our clients — energy companies, regulators, or even governments — FTI Consulting’s subsidiary, Compass Lexecon investigates those companies suspected of collusive behaviour. Our credentials are without peer. Because we have top professionals in competition economics and energy economics, we can study the market characteristics and market outcomes to assess whether the market is prone to reaching and sustaining a cooperative agreement. We analyse whether cooperation is harmful to competition, we can assess the actual degree of harm, and we can analyse whether there are pro-competitive effects that could not be reached without the agreement.
- Sector Enquiries. Unlike abuse of dominance or anti-competitive agreements, a sector enquiry investigates a market as a whole. The reasons for an enquiry may vary. For example, a market might not work well because of problems that make competition less effective. In energy markets, one may think of too high concentration resulting from the pre-liberalisation period or the potential negative effects of long-term contracts. Energy professionals in Compass Lexecon, a subsidiary of FTI Consulting, have helped clients face sector enquiries. For example, our experts have advised many companies and regulators on the ongoing enquiry into capacity mechanisms. We have experts who previously worked at competition authorities and energy regulators and, as a result, advise our clients on likely areas of review. We assist in responding to requests for information or other surveys and provide analysis and arguments from an economic perspective.
- State Aid. European governments are not permitted to provide financial assistance to their national companies or, if they are, it is subject to very strict scrutiny and requirements in order to minimise their impact on competition in the single European market. The Energy professionals at Compass Lexecon, a subsidiary of FTI Consulting, provide support in the economic analysis required by energy companies or governments seeking state aid clearance from the European Commission. Our economists have significant experience in advising parties seeking state aid clearances, for instance, by testing whether financial support is consistent with the European Commission’s economic principles for state aid measures, and in assessing the impact of proposed arrangements. We have provided support in state aid cases related to power purchase agreements in Eastern European countries, on renewables support mechanism, as well as on capacity mechanisms.
Often, disputes are cultural or political in nature. What differentiates FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon from other consulting organisations is that we employ professionals — certified public accountants, certified fraud examiners, valuation experts and insolvency professionals, among others, with antitrust and intellectual property expertise — who have lived and worked in the jurisdictions involved. As a result, we understand the context of the dispute and can provide unrivalled perspective. Applying our complete suite of litigation support and investigative, consulting and expert witness services, we gather technical, economic and commercial privileged insights and meld them with other data and information gleaned from our investigations to provide law firms and corporation counsel around the globe with a much more three-dimensional, holistic view of dispute events. Clients seek our advice for:
- Loss of Profits Assessment. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have been engaged in many lost profits disputes either caused by increased construction costs or delays or contractual disagreements created by the effect of changing market conditions on power purchase agreements. Our Energy professionals are well versed in providing economic analyses and valuation of damages or losses, and serve as expert witnesses in support of our clients’ positions.
- Regulatory Disputes. Wholesale energy regulatory disputes arise as the regulations are being created or after they become law. Experts from FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are often engaged in such disputes because of our dispute and litigation experience. Our team includes experts who have worked at the national government level on energy policy, for the international energy agency, for national regulatory authorities, for energy regulators, for utilities, etc. This deep wholesale market expertise provides valuable insight and clarity, helping clients during every stage of a contested matter, from early case assessment and discovery to case strategy, damages analysis, and expert witness support.
- Market Design Appeals. Market design provides the rules and regulations for trading wholesale power or natural gas. Disputes arise as the rules are being created and after they are law. An example is the dispute over long distance transition losses and who should pay for them. The debate is about whether every power station should pay for its own transition losses or should they be paid or shared by energy retailers and ultimately their end users. This is a very contentious argument that motivates market participants to attempt to make changes to the rules for trading wholesale power or natural gas. The outcome is usually a dispute that sometimes leads to litigation. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon professionals are widely experienced in supporting clients in these kinds of disputes and often act as expert witnesses.
European power markets are going through a period of profound transformation. The growth of renewables and depressed power demand are combining to put pressure on thermal plant revenues. The regulatory framework is evolving with reforms of renewables support mechanisms leading to greater merchant risk exposure, and the introduction of capacity mechanisms. As a result, electric utilities, generators, and traders face a new set of forecasting problems. To respond to these challenges, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have developed a modelling suite integrating the main elements of the electricity market (power market, ancillary services and capacity) and main generator decisions (short-term dispatch and plant investment and retirement). Clients seek our advice for:
- Energy & Capacity Price Forecasting. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have experts which regularly use forward-looking models of European power markets to provide clients with a market outlook on the development of market fundamentals and its impact on power prices, including the hourly price structure. In addition, because of recent concerns about the existing power supply meeting demand in Europe, capacity markets have been developed in a number of European countries to ensure that supply will always be available. Our Strategy and Regulatory specialists and renowned economists create models to simulate capacity market prices as well as to forecast future pricing based on likely scenarios. Our clients — governments, utilities, power consumers and other market participants — have benefited directly from our energy and capacity pricing modelling expertise.
- Asset Valuation. Asset valuation involves valuing the power market assets on the basis of all the available due diligence and all the estimations of forward future cash flows allowing one to value an asset. And the future cash flow is usually the function of what the regulations and market conditions are going to be, as well as other things such as future cost profile. For public and private companies in the wholesale energy business, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have experts that have performed asset valuations for numerous purposes, including fair market value, fairness opinions, purchase price allocations, impairment testing, dispute resolution, transaction analysis and pricing, and restructuring.
- Modelling Capability Development. Market players are often interested in developing their in-house modelling capabilities to be able to inform their business cases independently. To meet these requirements FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon’s Electricity Market Modelling experts advise clients both on the general architecture of the power market and specific modelling approaches.
- Scenarios Modelling. Higher oil prices or significantly reduced nuclear dependence, as examples, will have a ripple effect across the energy markets — electricity, natural gas, renewables, etc. To determine how much of an effect, the Strategy and Regulatory specialists and renowned economists at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon develop scenarios based on key market drivers to determine how energy market fundamentals and regulation might evolve in the future. We then use the scenarios to create market models where we evaluate what we think electricity prices or gas prices might be in future years.
- Downside Risk Assessment. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon help clients and their advisers assess and mitigate strategic, financial, and operational risks within various business functions and across the enterprise. In our performance of strategic financial assessment and risk analysis, we identify low probability but high impact events that might conceivably occur. We then develop models that explore and evaluate the risks and consequences of such events and the steps our client might consider to mitigate the possible downside risk. Clients often use this modelling procedure to identify and put in place safeguards today that would mitigate downside of risk should a major event occur.
- Regulation Impact Assessment. The European electricity markets are constantly evolving and new regulations and market rules are regularly introduced by governments, regulators and market and system operators. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon experts use modelling tools to help policy makers, as well as utilities to quantify the impact of regulation and market design proposals on the socioeconomic welfare and to understand the risks and opportunities they present to individual market participants.
- Competition Analysis, Regulatory & Commercial Disputes. Analyses of competition in power markets, competitive behaviour in power markets, regulatory and commercial disputes often require to re-creating the historical market outcomes that would occur and an alternative behaviour of market participant or participants. In a number of competition cases and regulatory and commercial disputes, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon experts have identified the counterfactual benchmark of market participants’ behaviour and applyed the power market models to assess the impact of actual behaviour on the market outcomes, profitability of market participants and social benefit.
Policy & Regulation
European power markets are going through a period of profound transformation. The growth of renewables, depressed power demand, and the evolving regulatory framework are combining to impact plant revenues and market risk. As a result, electric utilities, generators, and traders face strategic choices. To respond to these challenges, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon offer a highly interactive and customised approach which includes senior experts’ inputs on key regulatory and market design issues, and in-house models of markets for energy, capacity, and ancillary services to support market design and strategic analysis. Clients seek our advice for:
- Wholesale Market Design & Implementation. Within the wholesale energy market, market design addresses key issues such as market trading arrangements as well as regulations and rules that govern the operation of the different stakeholders. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have experts well versed in advising clients on high-level market design and detailed implementation. Some of our professionals are former regulators who give us critical perspective. We provide advice on market design rules to governments and regulators. Also we advise companies that are subject to these rules on what they might mean for their business model and strategy, what they need to know to comply, how they can assess the impact of these rules, and what alternative approaches are feasible. Our expertise ranges from drafting detailed market rules and codes to providing training to market participants on how to change the operating practices in order to comply with the rules.
- Market Integration & Cross-Border Trade. European electricity markets are in the process of integration — involving both harmonisation of market designs across national electricity markets and ensuring that these markets operate in an integrated manner using the cross-border transmission capacity in the most efficient way across all timeframes. The Target Model for the European-integrated electricity market is defined by a number of Network Codes that set the rules and obligations that govern access to, and use of, the European energy networks. Implementation of the Target Model presents a number of opportunities and risks for market participants. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have regulatory and market design specialists to help European regulators, TSOs and utilities design and implement the mechanisms of market integration taking into account the impact on costs and benefits to a variety of market participants both on a regional and local level.
- Capacity Mechanisms & State Aid. Concerns about security of supply have led many governments to introduce capacity mechanisms which remunerate plants available in addition to their revenues derived from selling energy on the wholesale market. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have strategy and regulatory experts to assist regulators and utilities in the design and implementation of capacity markets that consider the costs and benefits to governments, utilities, power consumers and other market participants. In addition, our experts have advised clients in the UK, France, Italy, Greece and Belgium on the state aid approval process by the European Commission of the capacity mechanisms in these countries.
- Balancing & Ancillary Services Markets. In the day-ahead and intraday electricity markets, one can buy and sell electricity at any particular hour of the day in advance of the delivery. Providers of energy storage, demand-side response, and flexible generators looking for opportunities to increase the market value of their assets may consider other markets. This may include the balancing markets clearing close to or in real-time or ancillary service markets, such as markets for operating reserves. Such markets may be particularly useful to value flexibility provided to the market. The Energy professionals at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are adept at developing strategies and scenarios that take advantage of such markets.
The Energy team within FTI Consulting’s Strategic Communications Practice includes sector experts with experience representing a broad range of organisations and companies in the wholesale energy sector. Our clients benefit from the team’s relationships with key influencers to provide a comprehensive suite of integrated communications services, including corporate and employee communications, financial communications, public affairs, creative engagement, strategy consulting and research, and crisis communications. Clients seek our advice for:
- Corporate Communications. Historically, the energy industry in general and its participants have not communicated their stories very well. External communications has been non-existent or very guarded at best. As a result, corporate reputations and the public trust are not very high. Companies need to tell their story, not just after a crisis, but also on an ongoing basis to communicate what they’re about, what they’re doing and why and why they’re competent and can be trusted. Corporate communications is basically doing the everyday heartbeat outreach to build, sustain and defend a corporate reputation. FTI Consulting Strategic Communications professionals are highly experienced and well equipped to support your company, what innovative things you’re doing, why you’re doing it, the fact that you’re a responsible company, in a responsible industry, that you provide employment, and that you provide an essential service.
- Issues & Crisis Management. There are two main types of crisis situations — the crisis of reputation where important audiences are losing faith in a company, its performance, and its leadership; or a high impact/low probability crisis such as an explosion at a pipeline facility or the death of a senior executive. To help clients prepare for either eventuality, FTI Consulting professionals take a campaign-like approach to these challenges, closely coordinating with management teams, as well as legal, financial and other advisers to provide strategic counsel on all aspects of internal and external communications. We help identify, prioritise and track issues — economic, financial, political, industrial, or technical — that can impact on the client’s performance, its reputation, and its value. We then advise on how to address them proactively to achieve a positive outcome.
- Stakeholder Communications. Companies must consider each stakeholder group separately to engage in a proper dialogue with them. It is critical that all stakeholders be identified. FTI Consulting Strategic Communications specialists research all possible stakeholder groups, not just establishing who they are and how important they are to the company, but also what they want and need to know and what information the client can give them. This includes examining how our client has been communicating to them in the past and what it should be saying today and in the future. In addition, and as important, clients need to listen to their stakeholders so that relevant messages can be crafted and addressed to each audience specifically. FTI Consulting analyses and prioritises stakeholders and messages and develops programs for clients that help facilitate audience-specific messaging to create a proper dialogue with those people who have the greatest financial influence on the client’s business.
- Public Affairs & Policy. Legislation and regulation have an enormous impact on your company and the industry. Political stakeholders, elected representatives at local and national levels, civil servants, people who work on the executive arm of the government, advisers, policy think tanks, commentators, and academics all play an important part in the public debate on network regulation. It is critical that a company’s communications help it be better known among these groups, help it be listened to more, and help its interests be better understood when decisions are being made that affect its business. FTI Consulting works with individual companies, and with their trade associations, to seek to affect government policy regarding permitting and licensing issues, as well as issues affecting existing installations such as state aid, patent discounts, etc. We also do grassroots campaigning in local communities to overcome resistance to a client’s new installation.
- Research. In-depth market and stakeholder analyses can help companies solve complex business and communications problems. The multi-disciplinary Strategic Communications team at FTI Consulting consists of professionals who have served in major strategy firms, research consultancies, political campaigns, financial institutions and academic institutions. Working closely with energy sector experts within FTI Consulting, our team rigorously researches stakeholder perceptions, client brands, competitive operations, as well as the financial markets. In addition, our international network enables us to conduct research in all relevant countries.
- Government Relations. Legislative and regulatory pressure is becoming more prevalent in all energy sectors, which increases a network company’s compliance obligations and can jeopardise its license to operate. Managing political risk is a growing imperative for effective corporate governance and business planning. FTI Consulting combines public policy, capital markets, and sector-specific expertise to offer a unique capability for companies operating at the critical intersection between business and government. Our involvement can extend from specific issues to ongoing government campaigning in support of client positions on network regulations, tax, environmental, or public policy issues.
- Competition Investigations. From time to time, participants in wholesale power markets may find themselves involved in some way in competition investigations relating to alleged antitrust violations, regulatory scrutiny of an M&A transaction, claims of state aid, or sector inquiries. Communicating effectively to the press, to relevant regulatory and legislative stakeholders, and to a firm’s investors and employees is a key component of protecting the firm’s reputation, allowing the business to function normally while the investigation is ongoing, and securing a rationale outcome. In these situations, FTI Consulting Strategic Communications professionals specialise in helping clients to interact constructively with political and regulatory audiences in articulating the larger business and political contexts in which the company operates, and the ways in which the public benefits as a result.
- Rebranding & New Message Development. Rebranding can be a defencive or offensive strategy. The company may need to distance itself from a negative perception that exists in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders. On the other hand, the company may want to communicate a new corporate strategy and messaging that the old brand cannot support. In either case, rebranding usually involves radical changes. FTI Consulting Strategic Communications specialists work with clients to develop a consistent message framework for addressing key issues that affect the new brand. At the same time, we take a structured, research-based approach to identify, map and prioritise stakeholders to help create tailored messages that will strengthen stakeholder support. Then we go to work developing the new brand's logo, name, legal names, image, marketing strategy and advertising and public relations themes.
Energy companies often need an adviser with in-depth understanding of asset values, market fundamentals, structuring alternatives and the regulatory environment. Energy professionals from FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon provide the strategy, due diligence and management services to meet these needs. Clients seek our advice for:
- Market Entry. When an energy company or an investor plans to enter into a new market, or wants to expand in a market, key factors need to be evaluated — the competitive landscape, the regulatory environment, location evaluation and selection, buying or acquiring new licenses, identifying and engaging with local partners for services, establishing product pricing, etc. — and strategic decisions made. Clients engage us because, unlike many other consulting firms, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon have dedicated energy experts who provide a unique and holistic perspective to maximise value for clients. These professionals understand the entire transaction lifecycle and are focused on ensuring that our clients succeed. We work thoroughly to ensure that there are no red flags in a new market entry, and if there are red flags, we understand how red they are.
- Market Exit. The Energy professionals at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are highly experienced in helping energy companies develop a successful strategy for exiting a market and implementing that strategy for the greatest return. This includes current and future sales analysis, current and future potential profitability analysis, market conditions, regulatory conditions, competitive conditions, etc. We also provide analysis on the preferred way to exit a market — external sale, spin-off, or sale to employees.
- Upstream / Downstream Integration. Translating the concept of upstream/downstream integration into a viable business strategy can be challenging. The advantages may be enticing — economies of scale and lower production costs. But the challenges may be formidable — market sizing, competitiveness, and regulatory issues. The Energy professionals at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are highly experienced in developing integration strategic plans and implementation that incorporates key components, such as systems integration, data integration, personnel integration, etc.
- Portfolio Optimisation. Wholesale companies that own a portfolio of energy producing properties — gas powered electric plants, nuclear plants, solar farms or wind farms — may have difficulty determining when to produce power from each to maximise revenues. The Energy professionals at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon leverage their wide experience to align business planning, organisation and management with the underlying goal of achieving improved profit performance.
- Auction Bidding/Strategy. As a potential buyer or seller of a network asset, bidding is key to achieving a successful outcome. Many companies are not as adept as they should be in making an offer and supporting it. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon can help. Beyond the obligatory regulatory and commercial due diligence, our Energy professionals do sophisticated financial modelling to provide the most advantageous go/no go financial guidance and bidding strategies.
- Regulatory Negotiation. Wholesale energy companies often have to develop strategies to shape and inform the political and policy environment, as well as engage key legislative, regulatory and executive decision makers on matters that include tax, trade, labour and regulatory oversight. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon Energy professionals, some of whom have worked for the regulators and the European Commission, work to protect clients’ political and policy interests. We provide up-to-the-minute intelligence and assessments of policy and political directions, developing and implementing issue campaigns and legislative and regulatory mitigation strategies. We also serve as expert witnesses in these efforts.
The Transaction Advisory experts at FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are senior partners and dedicated teams with specific wholesale energy industry expertise — offer a forward-looking perspective and track record of success across the entire transaction life cycle. Whether representing buyers, sellers or lenders, we offer comprehensive due diligence advice and hands-on support in evaluating opportunities across the risk/return spectrum. We help wholesale energy clients assess future energy demand, energy prices, cash flows and asset values. Clients seek our advice for:
- Asset Valuation. For public and private companies in the wholesale energy industry, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon professionals have performed asset valuations for numerous purposes, including fair market value, fairness opinions, purchase price allocations, impairment testing, dispute resolution, transaction analysis and pricing, and restructuring. Asset valuation is simply valuing the asset on the basis of all the due diligence you’ve undertaken and all the estimations of forward future cash flows to allow you to value an asset. And the asset of future cash flow is usually the function of what the regulations are going to be, what the market conditions are going to be, and other issues such as your future cost profile.
- Financial Due Diligence. Wholesale energy companies face transaction opportunities and challenges across the entire risk/return spectrum. Most are inexperienced and ill-equipped to understand or manage the demands of these opportunities or transactions. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon professionals are well-placed to lead our clients, buyers, sellers and lenders, through an entire transaction life cycle — offering comprehensive financial due diligence advice and hands-on support, including quality of earnings analysis, underlying working capital and net debt profile, forecast sensitivity analysis, and SPA advice to name a few. The result is that our clients complete transactions that are sound and sustainable.
- Commercial Due Diligence. Commercial due diligence analyses network assets on the basis of markets served, competitors, market shares, regulations, pricing policies, revenue, profitability and how they all are likely to change in the future. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon are well-versed in conducting commercial due diligence. If you are buying or selling power stations, for example, our energy professionals provide power price forecasts of what the markets will pay for electricity in the future using FTI proprietary models, what it will cost to generate that electricity, how the regulatory landscape is likely to change and what you might expect in revenues and profit.
- Regulatory & Risk Assessment. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon work in partnership with our clients to manage business challenges, specifically those imposed by a demanding and changing regulatory environment. We typically get involved when a client needs to respond to regulatory information requests; needs to prepare for a regulator visit, when a skilled person review is required; when a risk assessment is required; and when a business model or management change is occurring. Our expertise runs across the full spectrum of regulatory issues including business model analysis, corporate governance, risk and regulatory management, wholesale and retail conduct risk management, compliance programmes and financial crime. We encourage clients to identify and address issues proactively to enable them to remain in control of their regulatory issues, thereby avoiding unnecessary costs and senior management distractions caused by direct regulatory intervention.
- Competitor Analysis. In order to effectively compete, either in existing markets with new and/or existing products, or in new markets with new and/or existing products, wholesale energy companies must have a clear understanding regarding all facets of their competition. FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon professionals provide critical research and fact-based intelligence regarding market characteristics, competitor profiles, customer profiles, products, pricing and profitability estimates, success/failure profiles, etc. Equipped with this actionable information, that supports executive planning and decision-making, we help clients develop business plans that enable them to compete more effectively against the strengths and weaknesses of competitors.
- Bid Support. As a potential buyer or seller of a network asset, bidding is key to achieving a successful outcome. Many companies are not as adept as they should be in making an offer and supporting it. Beyond the obligatory regulatory and commercial due diligence, FTI Consulting and its subsidiary, Compass Lexecon professionals can provide sophisticated financial modelling, writing a business plan, writing papers enlisting the support of the board of directors, etc., that provide our clients with sound, well supported buy or sell financial guidance.