Electric utilities - Industry OverviewThe electric utility sector which includes rural and other types of electric cooperatives is experiencing a restructuring that has been more rapid than could have been envisioned roughly in 1997. Eight states have passed legislation pertaining to, and utility commissioners in six other states have approved of, retail wheeling in relation to customer choice. The rest of the US has remained undecided on the issue for the moment. Retail wheeling refers to the function of electric generation rather than distribution. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Assn believes that laws will most likely be passed that will allow retail wheeling and regulate distribution. Further, the future of all power supply entities including those involved with power generation and transmission is unclear.
An update on industry restructuring.
Retail wheeling. Customer choice. A paradigm shift in our business. These are the words used to describe our fast-changing industry. As Washington Post columnist Jane Bryant Quinn recently wrote:"For some utilities - it's too late to survive. For others - there's a three-year window in which to recreate themselves. For the future - Watch out, as marketing of electricity becomes North America's most costly and risky business. Not a soul knows how it will all turn out." This article is designed to address these issues. These are the key questions: * How is the electric utility industry being restructured? * What has happened in the states that have approved retail wheeling? * How do the rules differ in the states? * What are cooperatives doing to address industry restructuring? This article began with a quote from Jane Bryant Quinn. Focus on her last sentence: "Not a soul knows how it will all turn out." This is important. We are dealing with uncertainty. We don't know if there will be retail wheeling on a national basis or in every state. We don't know exactly how the industry will be restructured. And we don't know if the restructured industry wil...