|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
Interest Rate Risk
NRG is exposed to fluctuations in interest rates through the Company's issuance of fixed rate and variable rate debt. Exposures to interest rate fluctuations may be mitigated by entering into derivative instruments known as interest rate swaps, caps, collars and put or call options. These contracts reduce exposure to interest rate volatility and result in primarily fixed rate debt obligations when taking into account the combination of the variable rate debt and the interest rate derivative instrument. NRG's risk management policies allow the Company to reduce interest rate exposure from variable rate debt obligations.
In addition to those discussed above, the Company's project subsidiaries enter into interest rate swaps, intended to hedge the risks associated with interest rates on non-recourse project level debt. See Item 15 — Note 12, Debt and Capital Leases, to the Consolidated Financial Statements, for more information about interest rate swaps of the Company's project subsidiaries.
If all of the above swaps had been discontinued on December 31, 2015, the Company would have owed the counterparties $134 million. Based on the investment grade rating of the counterparties, NRG believes its exposure to credit risk due to nonperformance by counterparties to its hedge contracts to be insignificant.
NRG has both long and short-term debt instruments that subject the Company to the risk of loss associated with movements in market interest rates. As of December 31, 2015, a 1% change in interest rates would result in a $23 million change in interest expense on a rolling twelve month basis.
As of December 31, 2015, the Company's debt fair value was $18.3 billion and carrying value was $19.6 billion. NRG estimates that a 1% decrease in market interest rates would have increased the fair value of the Company's long-term debt by $1.5 billion.
Liquidity risk arises from the general funding needs of the Company's activities and in the management of the Company's assets and liabilities. The Company is currently exposed to additional collateral posting if natural gas prices decline primarily due to the long natural gas equivalent position at various exchanges used to hedge NRG's retail supply load obligations.
Based on a sensitivity analysis for power and gas positions under marginable contracts, a $0.50 per MMBtu change in natural gas prices across the term of the marginable contracts would cause a change in margin collateral posted of approximately $348 million as of December 31, 2015, and a 1.00 MMBtu/MWh change in heat rates for heat rate positions would result in a change in margin collateral posted of approximately $285 million as of December 31, 2015. This analysis uses simplified assumptions and is calculated based on portfolio composition and margin-related contract provisions as of December 31, 2015.
Counterparty Credit Risk
Credit risk relates to the risk of loss resulting from non-performance or non-payment by counterparties pursuant to the terms of their contractual obligations. The Company monitors and manages credit risk through credit policies that include: (i) an established credit approval process; (ii) a daily monitoring of counterparties' credit limits; (iii) the use of credit mitigation measures such as margin, collateral, prepayment arrangements, or volumetric limits; (iv) the use of payment netting agreements; and (v) the use of master netting agreements that allow for the netting of positive and negative exposures of various contracts associated with a single counterparty. Risks surrounding counterparty performance and credit could ultimately impact the amount and timing of expected cash flows. The Company seeks to mitigate counterparty risk by having a diversified portfolio of counterparties. The Company also has credit protection within various agreements to call on additional collateral support if and when necessary. Cash margin is collected and held at the Company to cover the credit risk of the counterparty until positions settle.