Industry leaders see a disaster coming, as the need for infrastructure investments collides with the economic interests of utility shareholders and customers. In a shaky economy and a politically...
utilities sometimes have had to wait years or decades simply to get their lines sited, let alone built. Quite a few utility executives that I've talked to can recall in excruciating detail the negotiation, political wrangling, town halls, environmental meetings, and the years and years of more negotiation with regulators and stakeholders. And that's with a rate-base allowance included, to save the utility from any additional worry over the economics of the project.
Today, many of these utility executives believe private investors may not be suited to the lengthy, unpredictable, and sometimes contentious transmission-siting process.
In our case, Steve Mitnick, the CEO of Conjunction LLC, the parent company of Empire Connection, had tried to respond to the concerns raised at the FERC conference.
In fact, Mitnick apparently tried to scale back the project. But most industry watchers say that attempt simply came too late. In the popular perception, Empire was done.
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