Competition in electricity is part of a general trend toward deregulation (em from airlines to stock markets (em that characterized economic evolution in much of the western world during the 1980s. The move to liberalize electricity in some countries has been spurred on by the disenchantment of politicians and large customers with the traditional monopolistic arrangements. Monopoly not only prevented customer choice, but was increasingly seen as inefficient and paternalistic.
H.J. "Jim" Mellen, Jr. was named CEO of MDU Resources Group Inc. He will retain his current position as president. Mellen replaced John A. Schuchart, who will continue as chairman of the board.
Robert Anderson, Montana Public Service Commission member, was elected 104th president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Edward H. Salmon, member of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, was elected first v.p.