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SEC Filing Details

NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018
Entire Document

NRG has sold forward a substantial portion of its coal and nuclear power in order to lock in long-term prices that it deemed to be favorable at the time it entered into the forward power sales contracts. In order to hedge its obligations under these forward power sales contracts, the Company has entered into long-term and short-term contracts for the purchase and delivery of fuel. Many of the forward power sales contracts do not allow the Company to pass through changes in fuel costs or discharge the power sale obligations in the case of a disruption in fuel supply due to force majeure events or the default of a fuel supplier or transporter. Disruptions in the Company's fuel supplies may therefore require it to find alternative fuel sources at higher costs, to find other sources of power to deliver to counterparties at a higher cost, or to pay damages to counterparties for failure to deliver power as contracted. Any such event could have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial performance.
NRG also buys significant quantities of fuel on a short-term or spot market basis. Prices for all of the Company's fuels fluctuate, sometimes rising or falling significantly over a relatively short period of time. The price NRG can obtain for the sale of energy may not rise at the same rate, or may not rise at all, to match a rise in fuel or delivery costs. This may have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial performance. Changes in market prices for natural gas, coal and oil may result from the following:
weather conditions;
demand for energy commodities and general economic conditions;
disruption or other constraints or inefficiencies of electricity, gas or coal transmission or transportation;
additional generating capacity;
availability and levels of storage and inventory for fuel stocks;
natural gas, crude oil, refined products and coal production levels;
changes in market liquidity;
federal, state and foreign governmental regulation and legislation; and
the creditworthiness and liquidity and willingness of fuel suppliers/transporters to do business with the Company.
NRG's plant operating characteristics and equipment, particularly at its coal-fired plants, often dictate the specific fuel quality to be combusted. The availability and price of specific fuel qualities may vary due to supplier financial or operational disruptions, transportation disruptions and force majeure. At times, coal of specific quality may not be available at any price, or the Company may not be able to transport such coal to its facilities on a timely basis. In this case, the Company may not be able to run the coal facility even if it would be profitable. Operating a coal facility with different quality coal can lead to emission or operating problems. If the Company had sold forward the power from such a coal facility, it could be required to supply or purchase power from alternate sources, perhaps at a loss. This could have a material adverse impact on the financial results of specific plants and on the Company's results of operations.
Changes in the price of coal and natural gas could cause the Company to hold excess coal inventories and incur contract termination costs.
Low natural gas prices can cause natural gas to be the more cost-competitive fuel compared to coal for generating electricity. Because the Company enters into guaranteed supply contracts to provide for the amount of coal needed to operate its base load coal-fired generating facilities, the Company may experience periods where it holds excess amounts of coal if fuel pricing results in the Company reducing or idling coal-fired generating facilities. In addition, the Company may incur costs to terminate supply contracts for coal in excess of its generating requirements.