Labor got on well with monopoly.
But now, if experience is any guide,
expect a stiff fight for benefits, jobs, and wages.
At this very moment, utility chief...
to serve certain customers, want even more choices from energy companies as to rates, products, and services.
Customers and others want more information to make informed choices. The "democratization" of information and access to relevant and necessary information are key considerations as restructuring evolves in the gas and electric industries. For example, the gas industry has electronic bulletin boards, the Gas Industry Standards Board, and an
increased focus on standards of conduct and
information-sharing at the state level. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is promoting
real-time information networks as part of its electric Mega-NOPR initiative. Utilities are pursuing a wide range of telecommunications activities, directly or indirectly, in recognition of the opportunities created by a strong customer desire for access to information.
So there are three things that you have in common with Cal Ripken. But instead of hearing it from the lips of an excited eight-year-old, let's go back to the post-game celebration and ceremony when Cal Ripken was at center stage. What did he say?
On reliability (em "Whether your name is Gehrig or Ripken, DiMaggio or Robinson, or that of some youngster who picks up his bat or puts on his glove, you are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best day in and day out. And that's all that I've ever tried to do."
On competition (em "I believe in my heart that [my] true link [with Lou Gehrig] is a common
motivation (em a love of the game of baseball, a passion for our team, and a desire to compete on the very highest level."
On customers/fans (em "I want to thank you, the fans of Baltimore, from the bottom of my heart. . . . I give my thanks to baseball fans everywhere."
On how much money he makes (em well, Cal had nothing to say, but on that special night, no one really cared.
These factors, and others, need to be balanced as the industry moves forward with restructuring. But it should not, and cannot, be a "winner takes all" situation. Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ), who recently announced that he would be leaving the U.S. Senate, was reported by the New Republic to have said: "Instead of working together to improve our collective situation, we fight with each other over who has superior rights." I recommend that utilities, regulators, customers, and other industry participants ponder these thoughts as the restructuring of our industry continues.
So now you know about Ripken, restructuring... and you. t
Robert S. Fleishman is an associate general counsel at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. He is responsible for gas, environmental, nuclear, and telecommunications regulatory matters and involved in various restructuring and strategic initiatives at BGE. Prior to joining BGE in 1985, Mr. Fleishman was at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for six years, and worked in various capacities in the Office of General Counsel. Mr. Fleishman has a BA (cum laude) from Georgetown University and a JD from Boston University School of Law.
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