James Bales

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Top Stories by James Bales

With their ubiquitous overhead wires, poles, underground cables and transfer stations, it's easy for energy and utility companies to blend into the landscape and appear to be part of a slow-moving, slow-changing industry. But during the last 10 years, spurred in part by deregulation, many utilities entered new businesses in an effort to increase revenue in their capital-intensive industry. Those forays into areas such as broadband over power lines, telephone service and more brought mixed results while government regulation and customer expectations were increasing. So today, many utilities are focusing again on their basic assets and customers. With an approximate 10 to 12 percent return on their government-regulated enterprises, most energy and utility companies achieve good business results when costs are kept under control. Yet new pressures on the industry will... (more)