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Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1999

Setting EDI Standards: Business Beats Technology

Bruce W. Radford

Northeast states avoid meter squabbles, stress electronic commerce.

It ain't the chip, it's the interface. That's the ticket in New England and the Northeast, where utilities, power producers, retailers and marketers are standardizing electronic data transfers of customer lists, enrollment choices, energy consumption and billing determinants - the business information that will be prove essential to a working competitive market in electricity.

Off Peak

Co-ops beat utility rates in 15 states. But why not more?

Despite the fact that their customers are scattered throughout the most remote reaches of the 46 U.S. states they service, electrical cooperatives in 15 states offer residential rates lower than the averages for all utilities in those states.

A comparison of 1997 rates by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association finds that another 24 states have rates that are just 1 to 10 percent higher than the utilities' state averages.

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