ELECTRIC POWER: COMPETITIVE JOLTS

A MASSACHUSETTS UTILITY HAS BECOME A LEADER IN THE MOVEMENT FOR CONSUMER CHOICE AT THE OUTLET PLUG

The $200 billion-a-year electric-power industry slept for decades under a cozy blanket of cost-plus-profit income streams and fat dividends that seemed to promise payouts forever. The status quo is about to get a jolt from, among others, John W. Rowe, 52, president and CEO of New England Electric System of Westborough, Mass. NEES is New England's second largest power utility, with $2.3 billion in 1996 revenues and 5,000 employees. Under Rowe, the utility has become a leader in allowing consumers to shop around for electric power the same way they shop for long-distance telephone service. It also plans to largely take...

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