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Marketing & Competing

Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1995

demand that utilities prove that ethnic or low-income residents will suffer no disproportionate effects. This will probably prove an impossible hurdle to clear. The only solution is to respect and work with the core problem, while remaining aware that the issue could be misused by those with other agendas.

Voluntary Siting May Be the Only Answer

Voluntary community siting may be the only answer. It may take more than just dollars to win over the community. Benefits will have to balance the undesirability of the transmission line, as judged by the vocal public. That could include guaranteeing or bonding real estate values, perhaps even purchasing them.

At a recent transmission conference, a handful of utility executives estimated that building a transmission line today would cost at least 10 times what it cost in the 1970s. Others speculated that even this estimate may understate the financial stakes. But with increased competition and the industry's evolution toward more dedicated distribution and/or transmission companies, the payback (em if there is one (em could be handsome. Provided you site the new line cost-effectively in the first place. t

James R. Pierobon counsels energy providers on strategic marketing initiatives through Potomac Communications Group Inc. in Washington, DC, and Houston.

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