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The Body Electric

Shedding light on utility deregulation.

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This story appears in the May 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

No matter how you look at it, electric utility deregulation will not be simple. With California adopting a competitive system beginning in January 1998, at least two major congressional bills pending, and 49 states addressing the issue in some form (including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, which have passed laws), small-business owners may soon face a decision about choosing an electricity provider that could profoundly impact their bottom lines.

But to make sure the decision doesn't put them between a rock and a hard place, entrepreneurs must make their views heard. "Major corporations have the wherewithal to attend hearings. Residential users have clout because they're a big voter block," explains Julie Scofield of the six-state Smaller Business Association of New England. If entrepreneurs don't offer input, Scofield worries, their concerns will be ignored.

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