Money Matters - Simplified


Up to 23,000 Calif. energy bills wrong

San Francisco -- Officials with a California utility provider said as many as 23,000 customers with newer SmartMeters received inaccurate bills.

Pacific Gas and Electric officials, who earlier said only a "few" customers received inaccurate bills, said they will be overhauling customer service efforts after failures in dealing with complaints about the SmartMeters, the San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday.

"While we have confidence in this technology, some of our customers question whether they can have faith in our SmartMeter program, and frankly in PG&E," said Senior Vice President Helen Burt, the chief customer officer. "Restoring this trust is absolutely critical to us."

Mother bats: Experts at saving energy

Hamburg, Germany -- German scientists say they've discovered wild female bats' temperature regulation strategy is flexible, switching between two modes.

The researchers, led by Iris Pretzlaff of the University of Hamburg, found that in order to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as possible, wild female bats switch between two strategies depending on both the ambient temperature and their reproductive status.

Pretzlaff and her colleagues said they investigated, for the first time in the wild, the thermo-regulation strategies used by communally roosting Bechstein's bats during different periods of their reproductive cycle -- pre-lactation, lactation, and post-lactation.

The Fool's Look Ahead

A busy trading week kicks off with
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) posting its
fiscal-first-quarter results. Apple routinely tops
Wall Street guesstimates, so even though analysts are banking
on a 16% rise in earnings, to $2.07 a share, it's likely that
the actual numbers will be even higher.

Oil profits decline amid week demand

New York, October 30 -- Battered by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, major oil companies have reported a decline in their quarterly profits.

5-Star Stocks Poised to Pop: Anadarko

Based on the aggregated intelligence of 135,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

Playing Brazil's Deepwater Boom

It's now been about two years since Brazil announced the first of its big oil discoveries in the deep waters of its Santos Basin. Since then, the country has been a hotbed of energy activity, and Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), its state oil company, has brought gleams to the eyes of more than a few energy investors.

Coal Continues to Surprise

I must admit to taking pleasure in monitoring the world of energy. But my typical post is the topsy-turvy world of oil and gas. My Foolish colleague Chris Barker frequently does yeoman's work in deciphering the world of coal for our Foolish community.

XTO's an Oil and Gas Thoroughbred

I can always depend on XTO Energy (NYSE: XTO) Chairman Bob Simpson for a colorful analogy. First, he said XTO was a machine that marches. Now, it's a thoroughbred that, despite the restraint being applied, is still racing ahead of its peers.

Pounce on These Marcellus Players

Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE: COG) may call Texas home, but don't let the zip codes fool you. These independent oil and gas shops have deep roots in Appalachia and are feeling right at home in the race to unlock the mighty Marcellus shale.

Your Very Own Canary in a Coal Mine

When canaries were guinea pigs, coal mining was even more perilous than it is today. Birds are no longer required in the mines, but I sent my own Foolish canary underground to be our fly on the mine shaft wall. After digging deep into earnings for several key U.S. coal producers, this is my canary's comprehensive coal industry status report.