This is a dynamic - and in many ways, challenging - time for Exelon and the energy industry. Seismic shifts in how we produce and use energy are reshaping the environment in which we operate.
Exelon is closely watching and adjusting to these new realities to maximize the value of our business and continue to find opportunities for growth. We believe we have the right strategy and fundamental strength to succeed.
Regarding our buiness outlook, we are optimistic, but realistic. Exelon faces multiple economic challenges that are outside our control, from continued low natural gas and power prices to slow load growth to market distortions caused by unnecessary energy subsidies.
Taking Action to Achieve a Stronger Future
While we believe power markets will recover, we are not sitting on our hands waiting for it: We are acting on the things we can control and influencing the things we cannot to perform well in this environment and achieve long-term growth. We are relying on our strong balance sheet and financial flexibility and making deliberate, thoughtful investments across our businesses.
We are focused on growth opportunities that play to our strengths in clean energy and smart grid technology. This strategy is not new for us - we have a long track record of successful investment in our industry - leading utilities, generating fleet and retail businesses that have increased returns for investors, employees and the customers and communities we serve.
Investing for Growth
Exelon will make significant investments over the next five years - both in its existing businesses and value-creating transactions - and apply our highly disciplined approach for evaluating opportunities. This likely will include investments in upgrading aging infrastructure and technologies and opportunistic M&A. Because power prices currently are low, we are focusing more of our investments on our regulated utilities. We plan to invest $15 billion in BGE, ComEd and PECO from 2014 to 2018, which will provide stable earnings growth. Investments in smart technologies, transmission and distribution, and system reliability will reduce the number and length of outages and inprove customer service, as well as deliver sound returns on our capital. Meanwhile, we are making investments in our generating fleet, including growing our contracted renewable portfolio and expanding our footprint in the natural gas business.
At the same time, we continually review the economic viability of all of our generating assets, including those Exelon nuclear units feeling the pressures of low power prices and the unintended consequences of current energy tax policies. As we have said, if we do not see a long-term path to sustainable profitability emerge for a particular unit, we will consider all options, including unit shutdowns.
We are continuing to work with our markets, regulators and policymakers to create policies that enhance value for shareholders and customers alike by providing predictable growth, more affordable and reliable energy, and cleaner air. We are focused on policies that allow markets to work, end energy subsidies, enable our utilities to earn fair returns, and support and reward all clean generation.