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Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
June 19, 1998     Cape Gazette
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June 19, 1998

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50 - CAPE GAZETYE, Friday, June 19 - Electricity Continued from page 49 comes, so we wanted to form a collaborative group to participate in the process," said Jay Mason. "It's the trend to take re- gional mo- nopolies and open them to competition. It's important to make the MASON playing field even for consumers and providers." Mason is the manager of public affairs for the southern division general office for Conectiv, a divi- sion of DP&L. He said industry representatives know that many customers will not be interested in switching from their longtime electric provider; however, every= thing must be in place to educate the public of options and to ensure fairness to. all parties. Developing the equations-that 11 keep it all fair, yet understandable, has been a task in which AFFECT chose a major role. Keeping state plugged in Jim Smith, coordinator of infor- mational services for DEC, said the diversity of AFFECT mem- bership has been a key to develop- in$ap!an that shoCu ' lne2 ' fit and protect all the play- ers. He agrees that many customers will stay with the provider who is famil- iar and reli- SMITH able, but he also knows that deregulation and competition mean that industry leaders and Delaware can't be complacent. "I was more sur- prised than anyone when the bill quickly passed the House unani- mously," he said. "But the fact is that more than 40 states are look- ing at some form of deregulation, some of them are our neighbors, and we need to keep Delaware ahead of the curve." A restructuring of the way elect. tric providers are allowed to con- duct business could mean providers from neighboring states would be wooing Delaware cus- tomers. And Delaware providers will want to look bright and rea- sonably priced to those in areas that they do not already serve. Mason and Smith agree that the existing providers in the state have to be ready to compete. They are not too impressed with con- cerns of the Carper administration that a PSC-imposed price freeze during a transition period will be offset by a big jump in rates at the conclusion of the period. DP&L rates would be set for up to three years and DEC rates for up to five years. "We are trying to answer the June 25, 1998 governor's concerns," Smith said. "But one thing to remember is that the market works. If one provider raises rates too high, customers will go elsewhere. If a provider comes in and undercuts our prices to the point that we can't match and maintain a profit, we will seek those customers who are paying higher rates than we charge." "There will be no collusion among providers on raising rates," Mason said. "That is illegal and is regulated by the Public Service Commission. "Our concern is if we wait on getting restructuring legislation in place, we risk our neighboring states getting ahead of us. Mary- land and New Jersey are gearing up now. We need to be ready to offer our present customers full service and to establish links with new customers." Incentives in the offing Both industry representatives see diversification playing a large role in keeping present customers and attracting new ones. The DP&L union with Conectiv has already brought services that the energy company did not offer be- fore. Mason and Smith see com- pany credit cards in the energy in- dustry future, services such as heating and air conditioning ser- vice and utility management. Mason said, "We will generate revenue in other areas. We will ask ourselves, 'What will help the bottom line that our customers want and that is energy or man- agement related?' "- ..... Smith Said, "We are looking at how one individual can save through choice. What kinds of deals will we make? You will start to see aggregates of users, cus- tomers who fit a typical energy profile; these aggregates will be eligible for certain plans." And, yes, customers will proba- bly receive sales calls during the dinner hour. Smith and Mason ac- knowledge that sales campaigns and incentives will all be part of restructuring. "The main incentive will always be to stay with a company that provides reliable, safe energy," Mason said. "Many people will want to stay with a company that they know, that they trust." The savings that may or may not come out of restructuring will be determined by many things, not the least of which is the price and type of fuel used by a provider. Mason said that environmentalists are concerned that a less environ- mentally conscious provider might use a cheaper, dirty fuel to produce energy that can be sold cheaper. Elements of cost He said, "We will have to give the consumer an idea of what is the environmentally friendly as- pect. Some would like to see the industry go to all recycled fuel, but what would the cost be? "There are proposals to require market disclosure, but the bottom line is hat you have to let the mar- ket work." Smith agreed, saying, "There are certain requirements in place, but customers will have to be- come educated and compare, and the seller will have to find out if the market will bear more expen- sive fuels to provide cleaner ener- gy." ,o matter which energy compa- nya Delmarva custofner might choose, the electricity will still have to be distributed over lines and through substations built, owned and maintained by the electric co-op or DP&L. This will require specification of some charges regarding generation, COUNTRY INN ucked away in peaceful Sussex County, but not too far from the beaches, on a private seven acre estate is an historic Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast with virtues too numerous to count. Currently 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, with vast potential for more. Also, various outbuddings including an enormons bi-level 30'x 60' barn awaiting your creative employment. This is a remarkable property ready and able to fulfill an innkeeper's dream. $299,000. Contact Skip Faust to arrange your private tour of The Good Shepherd Inn. (302) 227-5000 (800) 800-4134 transmission and distribution rather than the inclusive rates that customers now see. And, local customers will still call the local provider if there are problems that can be related to distribution through substations and along lines, such as problems caused by ice storms. Under H.B. 570, municipalities such as Lewes would keep local Continued on page 60 I ROBERT V. WITSIL, JR. CIVIL, CRIMINAL LAW & ZONING Accidents & Personal injury Home Owners Associations Misdemeanor & Felony Offenses Zoning & Vadances Corporate & Business Law DUI & Traffic Offenses Wills & Estates Commercial Litigation 120 South Bedford Street 420 Rehoboth Ave. Georgetown, DE 19947 Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971 855-0120 By Appointment Listing of areas of practice does not represent specialization in those areas. PLANTATIONS... MOVE RIGHT IN! This darling 2 BR, 2 BA "First Floor' townhome is in a secu- rity development with indoor and outdoor tennis, swimming pool, fitness center and club- house. Lovely floor plan with a screened wrap-around porch. Home is being sold completely furnished includ- ing TV and VCR. Priced to sell at $115,000. OWN A BIT OF THE PAST! Tastefully restored 2 sto- ry colonial on a quiet street in Historic Lewes. 4 BR, 3 BA, formal LR, den, sunroom, pine floors, decks and more. All within walking dis- lance of shops, medical facilities or the beach. $262,000. HISTORIC LEWES Quaint 2 BR, 1 BA cottage adjacent to beautiful Shipcar- penter Square. Great for first a time homebuyer. Priced to sell at $69,000. FARMETTE East of Route 1, just out- side Lewes. Ranch with 17x35 family room, living room, dining area, large kitchen, 3 BR, 2 BA and 90 acres with pool & small pond. Must see for $229,000.