A new report conducted on behalf of some 475 institutional investors with $55 trillion in assets shows most electric utilities are unprepared to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

CalSTRS (California State Teachers' Retirement System) sponsored the report conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project and written by RiskMetrics Group.

The report points out that the United States as well as other countries are considering cap-and-trade programs and tighter regulations on carbon emissions. Utilities that don't manage risk by exploring alternative energy sources or investing in technology to reduce emissions could be forced to pass higher expenses onto consumers, it says. In addition, utilities that clearly aren't prepared to measure, let alone reduce, emissions expose themselves to possible fines and higher costs from having to purchase carbon offsets when regulation increases.

Some of the key findings in Electric Utilities Report 2009 are:
Only a small number of utilities are setting and disclosing absolute targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The electric utilities industry has an understanding of climate change but also has a long way to go to transform operations to a low-carbon economy.
Just under half disclosed electricity generation capacity and production figures by fuel type (such as coal or gas) which is a critical factor for investors in making decisions.
The response rate on climate change reporting from the world's largest 249 utilities companies has improved, from 44% to 53%, since the first electric utilities report in 2006, with a marked increase in the U.S. response rate from 48% to 67%. Yet 47% of firms globally are still failing to measure and disclose climate change and greenhouse gas information at all.
Spain's Endesa and Iberdrola at 85% and 82% respectively and Australia's AGL at 81% score highest for best practice disclosure under the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index.

To view the report, go to www.cdproject.net.