CELLULAR SIGNAL 3X6 ET PETERSEN
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Electric Utility Restructuring Must Be Completed Fairly
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the restructuring of the electric utility industry. Before making final judgments, it is imperative to understand the meaning of stranded costs.
Stranded costs represent the yet-tobe-recovered portion of investments made over time by utilities. These investments assured that customers were served with readily available and reliable electricity.
Investments that are now at risk of becoming stranded were all initially incurred with the full consent of the public via their regulators after careful reviews.
Every power plant, transmission line or other major expenditure was approved, and in some cases ordered, by a regulator. In the case of non-utility generation costs, law — state, Federal or both — forced utilities to sign contracts for what is now uneconomic electricity. Thus, it is hard to understand how some could suggest that electric utilities went on indiscriminate, uncontrolled building or spending sprees.
Regulators assured recovery of these investments through utility rates. The investments have become stranded only because the competition resulting from restructuring does not assure recovery.
As noted above, these power plants and transmission and distribution projects were all judged to be for the public good and, to reiterate, approved or ordered by the public’s representatives.
To now suggest that those costs were the result of bad decisions by the electric utility and, therefore, should be borne by its shareholders, or to suggest that share
holders should bear the responsibility because the system is changing from regulation to competition, is illogical and punitive.
With the laws that regulate the electric utility industry changing, what should never be forgotten is the substantial responsibility electric utilities have had and will continue to have to provide a life-sustaining service.
Were it not for proper investments made in timely fashion to anticipate customer needs, we would not have been able to meet that obligation.
It also is important to note that recovery of stranded costs does not represent a new charge for consumers. These costs are currently included in rates. Allowing them to remain in rates until the investments are fully recovered will not cause consumers to lose the benefits of electric competition, as the critics suggest.
Most executives who head electric utilities fully believe in the benefits that restructuring and the accompanying competition will bring to electric utility consumers.
We need to make certain that restructuring takes place in a manner that is fair and reasonable to all parties, while assuring that reliable and safe electricity is there for all of us.
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Fred D. Hafer is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of GPU, Inc. This article is being published as a guest column.
Scotch Plains Towne Centre Slates Holiday Celebration
The Scotch Plains Business & Professional Association (SPBPA) and the Parks and Recreation Commission has organized its 4th Annual “Old Fashioned Holiday Celebration” to be held on Sunday, December 6, from noon to 5 p.m.
There will be live entertainment, hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, a bake sale, sidewalk promotions, the annual tree lighting, and the arrival of Santa Claus.
The historic Osborn Cannonball House will hold an Open House where they will be serving food and refreshments.
Live entertainment with performances by local area choral groups will be held on the Village Green throughout the afternoon. Horse drawn hay wagon rides will going around town from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Hay ride tickets are $2 and children under 2 ride free.
There will be a merchant holiday walk contest with no purchase necessary and a chance to win a free lunch/ dinner, gift certificates and other prizes donated by local businesses.
The Scotch Plains Volunteer Fire Department will have a fire engine on display for the kids to visit and
will ride Santa into town. The annual tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. followed by the arrival of Santa. Children from toddler through age 7 can visit with Santa at the gazebo and will get a treat. Parents are welcome to take photos.
The following businesses will help sponsor the day’s events: EKA Associates, Hung’s Shanghai Restaurant, Eastern Marble & Granite Supply, Sovereign Bank, Fagioli Ristorante, Investors Savings Bank, American Express Travel Services and First Union Bank.
For more information, please call the Recreation Department at (908) 322-6700, Extension No. 220/221 or call SPBPA Chairperson Gerry Vadas, of CJS Violations Services, at (908) 322-4674.
Westfield Library Friends Plan Anniversary Party
WESTFIELD – The Friends of the Westfield Memorial Library will celebrate the library’s 10th anniversary with a gala party on Saturday, December 12, from 7 to 11 p.m. at the library. All are invited to attend the celebration, according to Party Chairwoman Eva Wiley.
The upstairs and downstairs areas of the library will be decorated with flowers and balloons. Food, wine and soft drinks will be pro
vided by Westfield merchants, and birthday cakes will be donated by local bakeries.
The William Ray Orchestra will play a medley of popular music during the event. Reservation forms, at $35 per person, may be picked up at the library, located at 550 East Broad Street in Westfield.
For more information on the library celebration, please call (908) 789-4090.
Council Members-Elect Seek To Fill Committee Vacancies
SCOTCH PLAINS — Scotch Plains Council members-elect Franklin Donatelli, Tarquin Jay Bromley and Geri M. Samuel have announced that they are looking for citizens of Scotch Plains to fill several vacancies on township committees.
“We are looking for people who are interested in different committees working within the township. Some of these are cultural arts, Scotch Plains Day, technology advisory and senior citizens advisor,” Mr. Donatelli stated.
“There are also appointments available to the Board of Adjustment, the Health Advisory Board and the Union County Transportation Advisory Committee,” stated Mr. Bromley.
“People who are interested,” stated Mrs. Samuel, “should send a letter and a resume or list of qualifications to my home at 1271 Cooper Road in Scotch Plains. People should also be aware that these positions are strictly volunteer.”
Mrs. Samuel added that the council members-elect would meet to review all letters from interested parties.
To fill one of these volunteer vacancies, please send a letter to Mrs. Samuel’s home with a list of qualifications within the next two weeks in order to be considered for an appointment on Friday, January 1.
“We will not be able to use every person who applies, but vacancies become available every year,” stated the council members-elect. “We will be keeping the names and qualifications of people who are interested in serving the township. We hope our citizens will take an interest in the township committees and look forward to working with them during the coming years.”
“We will continue to work with the sitting council members and the township officials to provide a smooth transition for the new administration taking office on January 1,” Mrs. Samuel commented.
Fireman’s Association Earns Community Service Award
WESTFIELD – Westfield’s Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association (F.M.B.A.) Local No. 30 of the Westfield Fire Department received the 1998 Community Service Award recently at the St. Barnabas Burn Foundation’s Valor Awards dinner.
The award was presented to the F.M.B.A. for its continued support of
the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children (A.C.B.C.) program, with donations exceeding $27,000 since the program was introduced in Westfield in 1990.
St. Barnabas Medical Center operates New Jersey’s only certified burn facility. Approximately 300 patients are treated annually in the center’s 12bed intensive care unit.
Aluminum beverage cans will continue to be collected in the rear lot of the Fire Headquarters on North Avenue.
Future Activities Announced For Mountainside Newcomers
MOUNTAINSIDE — The Mountainside Newcomers Club has announced its upcoming activities for this month and December.
This Monday, November 23, the club will host “Mommy and Me,” a preschool activity at Zany Brainy in Springfield, at 10:30 a.m. for preschoolers ages 3 to 5, accompanied by an adult. Participants will make handprint turkeys.
On Thursday, December 3, the club will sponsor its Holiday Banquet Fundraiser at Snuffy’s Pantagis Renaissance in Scotch Plains, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The event will feature cash and prizes for raffle and auction, as well as vendor tables for the purchase of holiday gifts.
On Saturday, December 5, the club will host “Mommy & Me — All Aboard!” Families will meet at 9:15 a.m. in front of the Westfield Train Station to board the 9:45 a.m. Santa Train Ride. Tickets are on sale at Brunner’s Opticians in Westfield.
On Thursday, December 17, the club will sponsor “Ladies Night Out,” a holiday gathering to be held at a member’s home.
On Sunday, December 20, the club will present “Santa’s House to House Visits.” Santa will visit houses of Newcomer children from 4:30 p.m. throughout the early evening.
The Mountainside Newcomers Club is a social and charitable organization designed to help newcomers make friends and become a part of the community.
Membership is open to new residents of Mountainside or established
residents who have experienced a change in lifestyle, such as the birth of a child, or a change in employment or marital status.
For information on membership or the club’s upcoming events, please call Martha Perasso at (908) 6547789.
Santa Claus to Appear At Tree Lighting Event On Sunday, November 29
WESTFIELD — The Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce has announced that Santa Claus will appear at the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Sunday, November 29, at 5 p.m. at the North Avenue Train Station.
The Westfield Community Band will entertain the audience with holiday songs at the event.
Mayor Thomas C. Jardim will welcome the attendees and officially light the Christmas tree to mark the beginning of the holiday season.
Santa will arrive on board a Westfield fire truck, greet children and distribute candy canes courtesy of UNICO, an Italian fraternal organization. The public is invited to attend.
The event will be sponsored by the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce and UNICO, with the cooperation of the Westfield Public Works, Fire and Police departments, along with the Downtown Westfield Corporation.
Garden Club to Create Wreaths Tomorrow
WESTFIELD — The Garden Club of Westfield will meet tomorrow, Friday, November 20, in the Community Room, 425 East Broad Street in Westfield, at 9:30 a.m. for a workshop to make Christmas wreaths for the Municipal Building.
Westfield Lions Club To Sponsor Collection For Hurricane Victims
WESTFIELD -The Westfield Lions Club and the Lions clubs of District 16E will collect items to aid the victims of Hurricane Mitch on Saturday, November 21, at the Westfield Lions Toy, Train and Doll Show at the Scotch Hills Country Club on Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Donations of canned food, baby food, cereals, bottled water, first aid kits and summer clothing that is clean and in good condition will be accepted. A container will be available for any monetary donations.