Earnings management in the electric utility industry: profit incentives

Earnings management in the electric utility industry: profit incentives Electric utilities face profit regulation tied explicitly to accounting data. Under existing rate structure, the utilities are required to provide periodic and specialized accounting reports for use in rate decisions. Consumer groups and opponents often criticize the rate structure alleging possible alteration of accounting reports by utilities to gain favorable regulation. Nonetheless, there is little empirical evidence supporting the allegation. This study investigates profit incentives for earnings management by utilities seeking rate increases. Specifically, this study investigates whether electric utilities proactively adopt profit-reducing actions before and during rate requests. The results are consistent with strategic use of accounting methods to reduce reported profits immediately before and during rate requests. The evidence supports the notion that utilities reduce profits just before and during rate reviews to relax regulatory constraints and improve profit opportunities. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting Springer Journals

Earnings management in the electric utility industry: profit incentives

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Finance; Corporate Finance; Accounting/Auditing; Econometrics; Operation Research/Decision Theory
ISSN
0924-865X
eISSN
1573-7179
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11156-014-0481-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Electric utilities face profit regulation tied explicitly to accounting data. Under existing rate structure, the utilities are required to provide periodic and specialized accounting reports for use in rate decisions. Consumer groups and opponents often criticize the rate structure alleging possible alteration of accounting reports by utilities to gain favorable regulation. Nonetheless, there is little empirical evidence supporting the allegation. This study investigates profit incentives for earnings management by utilities seeking rate increases. Specifically, this study investigates whether electric utilities proactively adopt profit-reducing actions before and during rate requests. The results are consistent with strategic use of accounting methods to reduce reported profits immediately before and during rate requests. The evidence supports the notion that utilities reduce profits just before and during rate reviews to relax regulatory constraints and improve profit opportunities.

Journal

Review of Quantitative Finance and AccountingSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 30, 2014

References

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