Revenge of the ’70s

A guide to the galaxy of low growth, high interest rates, and the dark side of the Force.

Many executives are hoping to avoid a repeat of the 1970s, when first hit the big screen, and when inflation, nuclear cost overruns, and diminishing returns came calling in an economic climate that today's markets threaten to emulate.

Spot-Market Clearing

Solving the electricity credit malaise.

A monthly billing cycle results in exposures of up to 60 days’ settlement. Participant default is likely, and the potential loss from such an event is significant. Spot-market clearing can solve these problems.

Gas Supply: Too little, Too late?



Pipeline and LNG terminal developments may arrive too late to prevent a natural gas disaster.

For exactly two months, MidAmerican Energy sponsored a $6.3 billion project to bring stranded natural gas from Alaska's North Slope to an adjoining pipeline in Canada. But when Alaska's Department of Revenue rejected MidAmerican's proposal for an exclusive partnership to develop the pipeline, the company pulled out.

Business Process Outsourcing: Myth or Reality?



Business Process Outsourcing

The utility HR department is the new battleground.

Today information technology (IT) outsourcing contracts are being signed on an almost weekly basis and are rapidly extending into business process outsourcing (BPO) deals covering a whole range of areas-customer care, human resources (HR), finance and accounting, and procurement, to name a few.

Special ECM Section

Deregulation, competition, and the back-to-basics utility strategy have created tremendous pressures for utilities to cut operating costs while improving customer service. In this environment, companies are being challenged to build the utility of the future-a lean provider of power generation, transmission, and distribution run tightly and efficiently, creating a low-cost, high-performance business.

Envision the Utility of Tomorrow

How will the industry change in the future?

How will the industry change in the future?

The utility industry of the future can be best characterized by three words: scale, synergies, and automation. Company leaders and the broader workforce will be touched by these three forces for change. We can already see glimpses of the future around us today. In response to the sweep of deregulation, many power companies no longer generate power. They have divested themselves of their generating plants, ceding that ground to independent producers to concentrate on distribution.

CIS: The new Profit Machine

How IT can allow utilities to invest in customers-and even improve returns-without breaking the bank.

How IT can allow utilities to invest in customers-and even improve returns-without breaking the bank.

A high quality customer information system (CIS) at a utility company can build revenue streams and promote customer loyalty. But while those are admirable goals, it is not that simple to wade through all the various CIS systems and figure out what a company needs in order to achieve those benefits.

The IT Outsourcing Question

The pros and cons of outsourcing utilities' IT functions.

The pros and cons of outsourcing utilities' IT functions.

Utility companies have a lot to think about these days. Whether or not to outsource information technologies (IT) is part of the equation being calculated in the present economy. While some managers feel anxiety at turning over important company functions to outsiders, others see it as an opportunity to free up IT staff for other work. And keeping up with ever-changing technology is a daunting task.


We welcome submissions to People, especially those accompanied by a Color Photograph. Send to:

Judy Pensabene has joined the Republican staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as deputy chief counsel. She is returning to the committee, where she worked from 1990 to 1995, after serving as vice president of federal affairs at Constellation Energy Group.

Entergy announced that Peter P. Schneider has been hired as vice president of Nuclear Human Resources, a new position within the company. Schneider's prior experience includes stints at Human Resources Strategies and Solutions, Inc., Exelon, and PECO Energy.