CEO named for Texas' largest electric provider

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - John Young, a utility executive who was chief financial officer of Chicago-based Exelon Corp., will be the first chief executive of Energy Future Holdings, which acquired TXU Corp. in a $45 billion buyout last year.

Young, 51, will move from Chicago to Dallas and begin work Jan. 29, the company said. TXU's previous CEO, John Wilder, resigned after Energy Future's purchase of TXU closed, on Oct. 10.

Exelon, formerly Commonwealth Edison, is one of the nation's largest utilities, with more than $15 billion in revenues and about 6 million electricity and natural gas customers in Illinois and Pennsylvania. Among its electricity-generating facilities ar the Handley power plant at 6604 E. Rosedale St. in east Fort Worth and the Mountain Creek power plant in west Dallas, which it bought from TXU in 2001, along with several smaller generators in the Houston area.

In December, Exelon also announced that it had selected an 11,500-acre site in Victoria County, southwest of Houston, possibly for a nuclear power plant. Company officials said they have not committed to the idea but intend by September to apply to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license.

Young joined Exelon Power in 2003. He was named president of Exelon Generation in 2004 and Exelon's chief financial officer in 2005. Before that he worked for Sierra Pacific Resources, a Nevada utility, and for Atlanta-based Southern Co. In an Energy Future statement, Young said that "since becoming a private company last October, EFH has begun an exciting transformation, and I am looking forward to being a part of that change."

In the same release, EFH Chairman Don Evans said the "breadth and depth of his (Young's) experience, especially on the operations side of the business, uniquely qualifies him to lead the holding company and work with the CEOs of the competitive business subsidiaries."

Energy Future has three units: Luminant, which generates power; TXU Energy, which sells electricity on the retail market; and Oncor Electric Delivery, which operates about 115,000 miles of wires that carry power to approximately 3 million households and businesses.

Luminant and TXU Energy are deregulated, while the Public Utility Commission still regulates Oncor's operations. Young will take the helm of the state's largest utility and largest electricity generator. Luminant is building three coal-fired power plants and contemplating the expansion of its Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Glen Rose, while TXU Energy in recent months has taken steps to slow the exodus of retail customers to cheaper competitors.

Tom "Smitty" Smith, who heads the Austin office of Public Citizen, said that although he doesn't know Young personally, "we wish him well as the company struggles to pay the enormous debt EFH took on and the crushing cost it will take on as the nation deals with the costs of global warming."

Smith also noted that EFH "has made a number of promising moves in the past 11 months" since it announced its plan to buy TXU, including the cancellation of eight of 11 coal-fired plants that TXU had announced.


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