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Issue 3


Many legislative issues on both the state and national levels affect the shareholders of investor-owned energy companies. Today, the overriding issue is the federal government's decision to deregulate certain functions of the electric utility industry. The goal is to give retail customers the opportunity to choose their electric suppliers, resulting in lower prices and increased options and services for all electricity consumers. While Congress has not yet passed comprehensive deregulation legislation, it continues to debate-and inevitably will pass-legislation that will achieve that goal.

For the most part, the industry has no quarrel with the goal. Its concern is that it be achieved in a manner that is fair to all types of utilities and to all classes of customers.
For example, 24 states (not including North Dakota) either have opened the retail electricity market or are preparing to. The problem is that electric cooperatives and municipal electric systems are not required to operate under the same regulatory conditions as are investor-owned utilities. This is of major concern because it gives co-ops and municipals a significant competitive advantage.

As the debate over deregulation continues, shareholders in the three utilities that provide electricity in North Dakota deserve-and need-a voice that will address their concerns. USND is that voice!