One of these days you may see a former chairman of the American Gas Association become the new chair of the Edison Electric Institute. Or maybe the other way around.
I broached this subject the other day when I found myself downtown at EEI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue, talking with some association reps. It led to some uncomfortable muttering and shuffling of feet.
Imagine Robert Catell (Brooklyn Union) or Richard Farman (Pacific Enterprises, SoCal Gas) as chairman of the Edison Electric Institute, or Thomas Page (Enova, San Diego Gas & Electric) or William Grigg (Duke Power) at A.G.A. With all the mergers now on tap, nothing is impossible.
Now imagine what sort of marketing job all this will pose for EEI and A.G.A., to differentiate their respective associations. You can guess where I'm heading. Just look at the Electric Generation Association and the National Independent Power Producers, now merged into one group, the Electric Power Supply Association.
* * *
Philosophers can debate how natural gas and electricity stack up. And so can our readers.
We tackled the subject late last year in our December issue, when we featured a view from the gas side alleging that electric utilities (and regulators) have used resource planning and demand-side management programs as a ploy to build electric load at the expense of gas. That piece, contributed by Mark Krebs, of Laclede Gas, drew a sharp reply from Steven Rosenstock, speaking for EEI. (See Mailbag, p. 10.) Another letter arrived just as we were going to press. So we made room and squeezed it into the column you're reading now. Maybe it will put the matter to rest.