SIC 4939 Combination Utilities, Not Elsewhere Classified


SIC 4939

This industry classification includes combination electric and natural gas utilities not categorized elsewhere.



Hydroelectric Power Generation


Fossil Fuel Electric Power Generation


Nuclear Electric Power Generation


Other Electric Power Generation


Electric Power Distribution


Natural Gas Distribution

The 2001 industry leader for combination utilities not elsewhere classified was Westar Energy Inc. of Topeka, Kansas. Westar had $6.4 billion in revenue and 5,600 employees. As of 2003, the company boasted 650,000 electricity customers. Most of its facilities were coal-fired, and the company had a 5,900 mega watt generating capacity. Other notable companies in 2001 were Edison Mission Energy of Irvine, California, with almost $5.0 billion in revenue and 1,100 employees; Northern Indiana Public Service Co. of Merrillville, Indiana, with $3.8 billion in revenue and 6,000 employees; MGE Energy Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin, with $542 million in revenue and 700 employees; and Dalton Utilities of Dalton, Georgia, with $258 million in revenue and 300 employees.

By the turn of the twentieth century, there were more than 2,000 private utilities and more than 800 publicly owned utilities in the United States. About three dozen of these early companies were combined electric and gas distribution companies. This occurred at a time when municipal lighting and heating were largely produced through the generation of synthetic coal gas. When street lighting was developed, the gas producers became electric suppliers. When natural gas became available in the 1900s, the utilities continued to serve as gas suppliers as well.

In the early 1900s, state governments begun regulating electric utilities; state regulation of the venting of natural gas used in electricity production began in the late 1920s. Complaints of excessive rates charged by utilities for electric service led Congress to pass two pivotal laws in 1935: The Federal Power Act and the Public Utility Holding Company Act. The first law created a Federal Power Commission (now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC) to oversee interstate power transactions and transactions between wholesale bulk energy suppliers. The second law reined in previous abuses linked to pyramiding holding companies in the United States. A third influential law was the Natural Gas Act of 1938, which gave FERC authority to fix pipeline rates. In 1942, the act was amended to regulate interstate...

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