Energy and Utility Resources

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If you're interested in doing an investigation on utilities or energy, check out these stories, tipsheets and resources available from the IRE Resource Center (

* Story No. 22241: An investigation into the proposed sale of Portland General Electric revealed inside information that sank the deal. Internal documents showed the Texas Pacific Group, which planned to buy PGE, intended to resell the utility. Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week (Portland, Ore.). (2005)

* Story No. 22240: The Department of Water and Power in Los Angeles is beset by price gouging, dysfunctional management, extortion and poor worksmanship. This series follows a previous report about racial discrimination at the utility company. Jeffrey Anderson, LA Weekly. (2005)

* Story No. 22051: In the 1970s, a Texas company installed 750 miles of faulty gas pipes. Thirty years later, the pipes exploded, killing five people. Questions were asked about why the faulty pipes were initially installed and why no one repaired them earlier. R. A. Dyer, Fort Worth Star-Telegram. (2004)

* Story No. 18257: After examining energy deficiencies in Illinois, Ohio and New York, the reporter concludes that the energy crisis in California isn't unique. Electricity doesn't obey supply and demand laws, so deregulation leads to unnecessarily complex and inefficient energy markets. Merrill Goozner, American Prospect. (2001)

* Story No. 18185: A 10-month examination of California's energy crisis reveals political manipulations during talks between energy companies and state and federal regulators. The reporters also study deregulation in other states and its results, and how companies bid on lucrative energy deals behind closed doors. David Lazarus, Bernadette Tansey, Susan Sward, Christian Berthelsen, Scott Winokur, Carla Marinucci, Patrick Hoge, Stacey Finz, Carolyn Said, Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle. (2000)

* Story No. 17584: Utility cutbacks of overnight personnel increase emergency response times. Emergency services are frequently delayed while waiting for utility crews to shut off power or gas, and in several cases, fire chiefs attributed losses to the utilities' actions. Jean Kessner, Marty Sicilia, WIXT-Syracuse. (2000)


* No. 2706: "Sexier Than You Think: Investigating Electric Utilities," Nigel Jaquiss, Willamette Week. This tipsheet offers tips for reporters covering utilities on how to find sources and relevant documents. It also includes information on possible conflicts between consumers and shareholders.

* No. 1631: "Energy and Environment," Mike Taugher, Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.). This tipsheet lists 13 Web sites with information on energy, environmental issues and energy companies.

* No. 1630: "Energy and the Environment- Mining for Coal Stories," Ken Ward, Jr., The Charleston (W. Va.) Gazette. This tipsheet offers advice on investigating coal, emphasizing environmental impact. It also includes a list of useful Web sites with energy-related information. …