Other companies with which NRG competes may have greater liquidity, greater access to credit and other financial resources, lower cost structures, more effective risk management policies and procedures, greater ability to incur losses, longer-standing relationships with customers, greater potential for profitability from ancillary services or greater flexibility in the timing of their sale of generation capacity and ancillary services than NRG does.
NRG's competitors may be able to respond more quickly to new laws or regulations or emerging technologies, or to devote greater resources to the construction, expansion or refurbishment of their power generation facilities than NRG can. In addition, current and potential competitors may make strategic acquisitions or establish cooperative relationships among themselves or with third parties. Accordingly, it is possible that new competitors or alliances among current and new competitors may emerge and rapidly gain significant market share. There can be no assurance that NRG will be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors, and any failure to do so would have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
Operation of power generation facilities involves significant risks and hazards customary to the power industry that could have a material adverse effect on NRG's revenues and results of operations, and NRG may not have adequate insurance to cover these risks and hazards.
The ongoing operation of NRG's facilities involves risks that include the breakdown or failure of equipment or processes, performance below expected levels of output or efficiency and the inability to transport the Company's product to its customers in an efficient manner due to a lack of transmission capacity. Unplanned outages of generating units, including extensions of scheduled outages due to mechanical failures or other problems occur from time to time and are an inherent risk of the Company's business. Unplanned outages typically increase the Company's operation and maintenance expenses and may reduce the Company's revenues as a result of selling fewer MWh or non-performance penalties or require NRG to incur significant costs as a result of running one of its higher cost units or obtaining replacement power from third parties in the open market to satisfy the Company's forward power sales obligations. NRG's inability to operate the Company's plants efficiently, manage capital expenditures and costs, and generate earnings and cash flow from the Company's asset-based businesses could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, financial condition or cash flows. While NRG maintains insurance, obtains warranties from vendors and obligates contractors to meet certain performance levels, the proceeds of such insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not be adequate to cover the Company's lost revenues, increased expenses or liquidated damages payments should the Company experience equipment breakdown or non-performance by contractors or vendors.
Power generation involves hazardous activities, including acquiring, transporting and unloading fuel, operating large pieces of rotating equipment and delivering electricity to transmission and distribution systems. In addition to natural risks such as earthquake, flood, lightning, hurricane and wind, other hazards, such as fire, explosion, structural collapse and machinery failure are inherent risks in the Company's operations. These and other hazards can cause significant personal injury or loss of life, severe damage to and destruction of property, plant and equipment, contamination of, or damage to, the environment and suspension of operations. The occurrence of any one of these events may result in NRG being named as a defendant in lawsuits asserting claims for substantial damages, including for environmental cleanup costs, personal injury and property damage and fines and/or penalties. NRG maintains an amount of insurance protection that it considers adequate, but the Company cannot provide any assurance that its insurance will be sufficient or effective under all circumstances and against all hazards or liabilities to which it may be subject. A successful claim for which the Company is not fully insured could hurt its financial results and materially harm NRG's financial condition. NRG cannot provide any assurance that its insurance coverage will continue to be available at all or at rates or on terms similar to those presently available. Any losses not covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Maintenance, expansion and refurbishment of power generation facilities involve significant risks that could result in unplanned power outages or reduced output and could have a material adverse effect on NRG's results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Many of NRG's facilities are old and require periodic upgrading, improvement, maintenance and repair. Any unexpected failure, including failure associated with breakdowns, forced outages or any unanticipated capital expenditures could result in reduced profitability.
NRG cannot be certain of the level of capital expenditures that will be required due to changing environmental and safety laws (including changes in the interpretation or enforcement thereof), needed facility repairs and unexpected events (such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks). The unexpected requirement of large capital expenditures could have a material adverse effect on the Company's liquidity and financial condition.
If NRG significantly modifies a unit, the Company may be required to install the best available control technology or to achieve the lowest achievable emission rates as such terms are defined under the new source review provisions of the CAA, which would likely result in substantial additional capital expenditures.