Did you hear the one about the middle-aged utility executive who became depressed about plans to restructure his company? It seems he couldn't cope with how fast things were changing. So he threw himself in front of a glacier.
That story comes from a meeting I attended back in October, styled Executive Visioning Workshop, sponsored by Arthur D. Little, Inc., which attracted some 21 energy industry executives. The group encompassed current and past players on Wall Street, two state PUCs, electric and gas distribution utilities, energy service and marketing companies, pipelines, gas storage and hub operators, DOE and White House policy offices, industrial manufacturers, consumer retailers, and trade and R&D associations.
We were asked to divide ourselves into three groups and pretend the calendar had jumped ahead to the year 2010. Then we were to recount everything that had happened during the late 20th and early 21st centuries in the natural gas business and related energy service and utility industries. Then write it all down, lest we forget.
In case you're wondering, the world didn't come to an end with the new millennium. In fact, each of our three groups "remembered" those 15 years in nearly the same way (see sidebar, page 6). Although we worked independently, we each described a similar vision of discoveries, inventions, successes, and failures.
The Ice Age