Fundamental issues set companies and regulators on a collision course.
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 charged campaign season, proposals for new capital expenditures are certain to cause trouble. Avoiding the train wreck will require real leadership in finding compromise solutions.
As I write this, I’m seated outside, in a camping chair with my laptop at a resort. It’s a lovely day; the sun is shimmering off the sky-blue waters of a lake somewhere in northern Wisconsin. Tall maples are whispering in a gentle August breeze. The kids are bicycling, playing and fishing with their cousins.
And me? I’m thinking about a train wreck.
Not an actual train wreck, of course, but the metaphoric train wreck that many utility industry leaders are saying they see coming.