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Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1995

Tilting Toward Telephony: How Electric and Gas Companies Can Leverage Their Systems for a Changing Market

Andrew C. Barrett

The structure of the utility and telecommunications industries has changed significantly since I began my role as a regulator 15 years ago. Technological developments and a competitive environment, as opposed to regulation, have provided the major catalyst for change. As a result, utility companies, which have historically enjoyed the favor of Wall Street investors, will soon face unprecedented revenue growth problems.

PURPA: Reform or Repeal?

B. Jeanine Hull

B. Jeanine Hull

President, Electric Generation Association

Vice President & General Counsel, LG&E Power Inc.

PURPA is not the issue; competition is. PURPA has introduced competition by demonstrating that the generation of electricity is not a natural monopoly. PURPA's faith in competition has proven itself in the form of lower-priced electricity for ratepayers. PURPA has also promoted fuel diversity by creating incentives for utilities to consider renewable fuel options for portions of their capacity needs.

Privatization: Fantasy or Reality?

Randall Hardy

Randall Hardy

Administrator

Bonneville Power Administration

BPA's central role in the Northwest has no counterpart among the other PMAs proposed for privatization. We hold approximately 45 percent of the market share, serve 85 percent of our customers' load, and provide rate benefits for 85 percent of all Northwest residential consumers.

By contrast, the other PMAs have less than 10 percent of the market in their respective regions.

Customer Focus: Price or Service?

Donald Pardus

Donald Pardus

Chairman & CEO

Eastern Utilities Associates

Eastern Utilities is committed to creating a company and a culture that goes beyond just delivering electricity. Our primary goal is to compete not just on price but on the value of the total service provided. Customers are the driving force in any competitive marketplace, and our commitment to our present and future customers is to deliver services that the customer values and needs.

Power Marketers: Friend or Foe?

PpErroll Davis, Jr.President & CEOWPL Holdings, Inc. and Wisconsin Power and Light Co.

In our vision of the future, today's distribution function will be divided into two companies (em a poles and wire function and a merchant function. The merchant company would provide value-added products and services to the customer. We have used credit cards, branding, and other marketing gimmicks to sell our services, particularly demand-side management (DSM). In the future, however, I think there will be greater emphasis on the types of energy-purchasing alternatives we provide. Pricing options are one offering that we would expect to expand.

Let's End the Monopoly

N/A

My subject today is regulation and competition in the electric utility industry.

You all know only too well what's happened to this industry in the last decade or so: Inflation accelerated, interest rates rose, productivity growth slowed, fuel prices rose dramatically, growth in demand stopped, and the cost of meeting environmental and safety regulations soared. For utilities that was truly a devil's brew.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

It was after seven o'clock in the evening (em nearly 12 hours since the DOE-NARUC Second National Electricity Forum had gotten underway up in Providence, RI (em when it all finally hit home. This time the regulators were serious. People were paying attention.

People

Richard J. Grossi, chairman and CEO of United Illuminating Co., has been elected chairman of the North American Reliability Council. Grossi will serve a two-year term.

Thomas L. Fisher, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Gas Co. has been elected chairman of the Gas Research Institute's board of directors. Fisher will serve a one-year term, along with newly elected vice chairman, John F. Riordan, president and CEO of MidCon Corp.

Chairman Thomas G.

Mailbag

Vince Esposito

In his recent article, "The Future of Local Gas Distributors" (Feb 1, 1995, p. 20), Vinod Dar presents a vision of executives at the local distribution company (LDC) lining up to buy cemetery plots (em even as the gas marketers, charging on horseback, seize the high ground of "middle" and

core-markets.

That sort of bravado cannot substitute for an in-depth knowledge of gas distribution. Mr. Dar in fact distorts or ignores many realities of the gas business.

"Merger of Equals" Primes NSP, WEPCO for Competition

Bruce W. Radford

Northern States Power Co. (NSP) and Wisconsin Energy Corp. (parent company of Wisconsin Electric Power Co., WEPCO, and Wisconsin Natural Gas Co.), have announced plans to merge, a move NSP says will create the tenth-largest investor-owned utility in the United States, based on market capitalization. The new company (em Primergy Corp. (em would operate as a registered public utility holding company and parent company of NSP and WEPCO, with the gas subsidiary perhaps spun off to comply with the Holding Company Act.

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