|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
Retail Customer Credit Risk
The Company is exposed to retail credit risk through the Company's retail electricity providers, which serve C&I customers and the Mass market. Retail credit risk results in losses when a customer fails to pay for services rendered. The losses may result from both nonpayment of customer accounts receivable and the loss of in-the-money forward value. The Company manages retail credit risk through the use of established credit policies that include monitoring of the portfolio and the use of credit mitigation measures such as deposits or prepayment arrangements.
As of December 31, 2017, the Company's retail customer credit exposure to C&I and Mass customers was diversified across many customers and various industries, as well as government entities. The Company is also subject to risk with respect to its residential solar customers. The Company's bad debt expense was $68 million, $48 million, and $64 million for the years ending December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively. Current economic conditions may affect the Company's customers' ability to pay bills in a timely manner, which could increase customer delinquencies and may lead to an increase in bad debt expense.
Note 5 — Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities
ASC 815 requires the Company to recognize all derivative instruments on the balance sheet as either assets or liabilities and to measure them at fair value each reporting period unless they qualify for a NPNS exception. The Company may elect to designate certain derivatives as cash flow hedges, if certain conditions are met, and defer the change in fair value of the derivatives to accumulated OCI, until the hedged transactions occur and are recognized in earnings.
For derivatives that are not designated as cash flow hedges or do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment, the changes in the fair value will be immediately recognized in earnings. Certain derivative instruments may qualify for the NPNS exception and are therefore exempt from fair value accounting treatment. ASC 815 applies to NRG's energy related commodity contracts, interest rate swaps, and equity contracts.
As the Company engages principally in the trading and marketing of its generation assets and retail businesses, some of NRG's commercial activities qualify for hedge accounting. In order for the generation assets to qualify, the physical generation and sale of electricity should be highly probable at inception of the trade and throughout the period it is held, as is the case with the Company's baseload plants. For this reason, trades in support of NRG's baseload units may qualify for NPNS or cash flow hedge accounting treatment, and trades in support of NRG's peaking units' asset optimization will generally not qualify for hedge accounting treatment, with any changes in fair value likely to be reflected on a mark-to-market basis in the statement of operations. Most of the retail load contracts either qualify for the NPNS exception or fail to meet the criteria for a derivative and the majority of the retail supply and fuels supply contracts are recorded under mark-to-market accounting. All of NRG's hedging and trading activities are subject to limits within the Company's Risk Management Policy.
To manage the commodity price risk associated with the Company's competitive supply activities and the price risk associated with wholesale power sales from the Company's electric generation facilities and retail power sales from NRG's retail businesses, NRG enters into a variety of derivative and non-derivative hedging instruments, utilizing the following:
The objectives for entering into derivative contracts designated as hedges include: