Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the registration provisions of the Public Utility Holding Company Act, the utility industry has resembled a poker game with vast stakes and SEC Chairman William O. Douglas dealing. Last week, Bill Douglas dealt a new hand to an intriguing set of opponents—lean, smart, Floyd Odium of Atlas Corp., fat, cunning Howard Hopson of Associated Gas & Electric Co. and bald, battle-worn Harley Clarke, late president of Utilities Power & Light Corp. As this hard-bitten trio of utility financiers studied their cards, kibitzers gathered thick around. For...

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