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PECO?s Corbin McNeil: A Nuclear Gambit

Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1998

AT&T in the PCS Wireless Business in the Philadelphia metropolitan telecommunications area, which is a pretty large [area]. It goes from Wilmington to Atlantic City to Allentown, and almost to Harrisburg. And then we are partners with a company called Hyperion Telecommunications, which is a subsidiary of Adelphia Cable Company out in Pittsburgh, laying fiber cable. And we have an extensive amount of fiber in both the Philadelphia area but also up in the Allentown area.

We're doing [this through] alliances. We're not involved in that business ourselves, but we bring¼ [other] capabilities. [For instance] we put our antennas in transmission towers in many areas, obviating the need to build a stand-alone telecommunications tower, which, in this area tends to draw a lot of complaints from citizens. Plus we, particularly, in urban areas, we have a lot of underground wire capability and we can put our fiber-optic cable in those conduits.

Competitive Position

PECO's retail electricity rates are about 30 percent above state average; 42 percent above national. How is the company going to compete?

We are under a public utility commission rate order [that] will go into effect next January 1 in which roughly two-thirds of our customers [will have choice] early in the year. And then early in the year 2000, the other third of our customers will be able to choose their energy supplier. So¼ all of our electricity sales, the energy sales themselves, will be done at competitive prices.

Elizabeth Striano is managing editor of the Fortnightly.

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