TECC Group, Inc. has identified 14 U.S. investor-owned electric utilities (IOUs) as major players in research and development (R&D), with expenditures in excess of $10 million. TECC's report, U.S. Electric IOU Research, Development & Demonstration Expense Comparisons 1994, places Southern California Edison at the top of the list ($64 million) and PECO Energy Co. 14th ($11 million). In between, in descending order, we find: Consolidated Edison Co.
Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1996
may be less than healthy, unless you're ready to replace them with technology.
As competition intensifies, increasing numbers of executives are realizing that customer service may have a more important role now than just placating regulators. After all, the broad spectrum of customer service is the principal way (em other than rates (em to differentiate a utility product and the utility itself.
A century ago, Congress conveyed valuable public property to certain entrepreneurs to serve the public interest. In exchange, these entrepreneurs agreed to carry the nation's principal means of communication at fair cost and, of course, serve the national defense.
In 1850, with a commitment to move the mail at fixed rates and freely transport federal troops hither and yon, a swath of public land was granted to the Illinois Central to connect Chicago with Mobile.
Computer systems must move beyond insular needs (billing and work orders)
to marketing opportunities. But few regulators really understand.
Everywhere we see the march of technology, especially computer and information technology. Pagers hang on nearly every belt or bag, PDAs have replaced notebooks and portfolios, computers sit on more home desks, and every major magazine and almost every daily paper has sections dedicated to news about the Internet.
"This legislation represents a piecemeal approach to a problem which requires deliberate and thoughtful consideration .... [It] could lead to 'cream-skimming,' which would result in increased rates for the remaining business and residential customers" (Lincoln Almond, Governor of Rhode Island).
Words to this effect are likely to grace vetoes of retail wheeling legislation by governors and maybe the President of the United States for the foreseeable future.
Economists often seem enamored of economic efficiency, honoring its merits while decrying the lost benefits of inefficient outcomes. But really ... what's the harm in a little inefficiency? Well, the harm may be more real than we recognize.
That was the question on the minds of representatives from local telephone exchange carriers (LECs) who huddled at the United States Telephone Association (USTA) National Issues Conference days before legislators passed sweeping telecommunications legislation that would affect everyone's future.
But the question went beyond what would become law when President Clinton fulfilled his promise to sign the bill.
When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) instituted the subscriber line charge (SLC), telephone household penetration rates actually increased, even though local rates rose when the SLC was rolled in.
"Anyone who assumes rural electric cooperatives will not be fully engaged in whatever system we have . . . if they assume the more competitive it becomes, the less we'll be engaged . . . they're very wrong."
(em Glenn English, CEO,
National Rural Electric
Ten terms as a U.S. Representative from Oklahoma's Sixth District taught Glenn English how to build consensus.