The Virtual Utility: Accounting, Technology & Competitive by Shimon Awerbuch (auth.), Shimon Awerbuch, Alistair Preston

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By Shimon Awerbuch (auth.), Shimon Awerbuch, Alistair Preston (eds.)

In the wintry weather of 1996, after four years of making plans and examine, the Symposium at the digital application was once held in Saratoga Springs, big apple. It used to be subsidized by way of Niag­ ara Mohawk strength company, Co-sponsored by way of CSC Index and the hot York nation strength study and improvement Authority and hosted through Rensselaer Poly­ technic Institute, Troy, big apple. The symposium sought to spot new components of inquiry by means of featuring state of the art educational and practitioner study meant to extra our realizing of the strategic, technologically-driven concerns confronting the elec­ tricity creation and distribution method. this system sought to supply new in­ attractions into speedy alterations within the software undefined, partly, via reading analogues from production and telecommunications. as well as picking out new examine components, the symposium yielded a couple of very important findings and conclusions. This quantity comprises the provided papers of the assembly, the discussant studies and targeted papers ready by means of the meet­ ing rapporteurs who played beautifully in interpreting, synthesizing, explaining and usually bringing a cohesive viewpoint to the attention-grabbing but advanced set of rules provided at this specified assembly. we want to recognize the folk and organisations that contributed to this attempt. We thank Niagara Mohawk energy company and Albert Budney, its President & leader working Officer for sponsoring this undertaking, and Andrew Vesey, vice chairman, I whose imaginative and prescient, help and championing made this venture possible.

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As another means to encourage positive feelings toward utilities, they successfully campaigned to sell utility stock to customers (Gruening 1964). The growing power of utility managers quickly eclipsed the control exerted by regulators. Fulfilling multiple functions as quasi-legislators, administrators, and judges, state commissioners had a sworn duty to enforce the agreement that supposedly benefited customers and utility companies alike. But beyond this official reason to be supporters of the consensus, regulators generally wanted to retain (and strengthen, if possible) a bureaucratic system that gave them control over elements 5 As the cost of electricity declined and as its availability increased, the customer base eventually became the general pUblic.

Regulators still performed an important function in the utility system, however. , the special standing held by utilities as natural monopolies. , creation of new technology that preserves the existing system. As described by Hughes, the electric utility industry made good use of academics and professional inventors in its early years, from 1870 to about 1920, to help create a technological superstructure that remained essentially intact for another 50 years. As perhaps their greatest achievement, these system builders developed steam turbine-generators, whose incrementally improving efficiencies and scale contributed so much to the industry's productive growth (Hirsh 1989, 40-4).

Though literally the economic "engine" of the post-Civil War economy, the railroad industry became despised by much of the public. The companies frequently consolidated with erstwhile enemies, discriminated in their pricing among customers, provided often-poor and unsafe service, and cultivated political favoritism and corruption. When first established, electric utility companies did not seem to be in the same class as the hated interstate railway conglomerates or their local cousins, the urban streetcar companies.

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