|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less at the time of purchase.
Funds Deposited by Counterparties
Funds deposited by counterparties consist of cash held by the Company as a result of collateral posting obligations from its counterparties. Some amounts are segregated into separate accounts that are not contractually restricted but, based on the Company's intention, are not available for the payment of general corporate obligations. Depending on market fluctuations and the settlement of the underlying contracts, the Company will refund this collateral to the hedge counterparties pursuant to the terms and conditions of the underlying trades. Since collateral requirements fluctuate daily and the Company cannot predict if any collateral will be held for more than twelve months, the funds deposited by counterparties are classified as a current asset on the Company's balance sheet, with an offsetting liability for this cash collateral received within current liabilities. As of December 31, 2016, $79 million of the cash collateral received was from GenOn, previously a consolidated subsidiary, and is included in cash collateral received in current liabilities as a result of deconsolidating GenOn, with the offset included in cash and cash equivalents.
The following table provides a reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and funds deposited by counterparties reported within the consolidated balance sheet that sum to the total of the same such amounts shown in the statement of cash flows.
Restricted cash consists primarily of funds held to satisfy the requirements of certain debt agreements and funds held within the Company's projects that are restricted in their use. Of these funds, as of December 31, 2017, approximately $51 million is designated for current debt service payments, $65 million is designated to fund operating expenses, and $57 million is designated to fund distributions, with the remaining $335 million restricted for reserves including debt service, performance obligations and other reserves, as well as capital expenditures.
Trade Receivables and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
Trade receivables are reported in the balance sheet at outstanding principal adjusted for any write-offs and the allowance for doubtful accounts. For its retail business, the Company accrues an allowance for doubtful accounts based on estimates of uncollectible revenues by analyzing counterparty credit ratings (for commercial and industrial customers), historical collections, accounts receivable aging and other factors. The retail business writes-off accounts receivable balances against the allowance for doubtful accounts when it determines a receivable is uncollectible. In addition, the Company considers a reserve for doubtful accounts based on the credit worthiness of the customers and continually reviews and adjusts for current economic trends that might impact the level of future credit losses. The reserve represents management's best estimate of uncollectible amounts. As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, the allowance for doubtful accounts was $28 million and $29 million, respectively.
Inventory is valued at the lower of weighted average cost or market, and consists principally of fuel oil, coal and raw materials used to generate electricity or steam. The Company removes these inventories as they are used in the production of electricity or steam. Spare parts inventory is valued at weighted average cost. The Company removes these inventories when they are used for repairs, maintenance or capital projects. The Company expects to recover the fuel oil, coal, raw materials, and spare parts costs in the ordinary course of business. Finished goods inventory is valued at the lower of cost or net realizable value with cost being determined on a first-in first-out basis. The Company removes these inventories as they are sold to customers. Sales of inventory are classified as an operating activity in the consolidated statements of cash flows.