A struggle is underway for ownership of the utility business. Not a fight between companies, but a struggle within each company for the future of the utility.
The battle pits two...
Almost everyone in America has heard of Cal Ripken, Jr. But have you ever wondered what you and the utility industry have in common with him?There are at least three things. Let me tell you how I know.
On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130 consecutive baseball games played. I was privileged to attend that special game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards with my son Michael. It was a profoundly moving and electrifying experience. Just like Cal's number (eight), my son is eight years old. He idolizes Cal as I'm sure many of you idolized certain sport figures in your youth.
When the game became official in the fifth inning, thunderous applause, an outpouring of emotion, and a sublime sense of history swept throughout the stadium. At the height of the 22-minute ovation for Cal, I turned to my wildly cheering son and asked, "What makes Cal Ripken so special to you?"
Michael: "If you ask him to do something, you can count on him to do it. And if he has a cold, he just shuts up and plays."
Dad: "You mean he's reliable?"
Michael: "That's right, he's reliable."
Dad: "What else?"
Michael: "He always plays his best and he likes to win."
Dad: "You mean he's got a competitive spirit?"
Michael: "You bet!"
Dad: What else makes Cal so special?
Michael: "He's real nice to the fans, signs lots of autographs, and I'm sure he thinks that without them there'd be no reason to play the game."
Dad: "You mean that fans and customers are real important to him?"
Michael: "I guess that's it."
Dad: "Could there possibly be anything more?"
Michael: "He makes money like you couldn't believe!"
Dad: "You mean all ballplayers make too much money?"
Michael: "Yeah and, in fact, baseball is so much fun they should play it for nothing. By the way Dad, why do ballplayers make so much and teachers make so little?"
Dad: "I'm sure there's a good answer to that one, but I haven't figured it out yet."
I was a Yankee fan growing up in New York. The stories and images of Yankee heroes (em Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle (em still resonate from the past. Joe DiMaggio was at the game on September 6. During the long ovation for Cal Ripken, I turned my eyes to the image of Joe Dimaggio on the monitor. It seemed to me that tears were welling in his eyes, as they were in the eyes of so many people in the crowd. Then I remembered that DiMaggio played with Lou Gehrig in 1939 and was probably the only person in the ballpark with such a direct link to that heroic time in baseball history. I realized how big a Ripken fan I had become and the things that we, in the utility industry, have in common with Cal Ripken, Jr.
First and foremost is reliability. Day in and day out, the utility industry provides reliable service to its customers. Second, there is fierce competition in our