Utilities Offer Infrastructure Design
Utilities have repackaged their expertise in infrastructure design, construction and maintenance of distribution networks into unregulated enterprises to fulfill a newly emerging demand. Exelon, an unregulated enterprise of PECO Energy Co., is among several meeting with success in this new venture.
Gary Murphy, Exelon Infrastructure Services` vice president of operations, said utilities are identifying ways to reduce or control operating costs and often come to the conclusion that “taking care of wires isn`t what I do best; I want to sell the content of those wires. For those companies thinking strategically, their desire is to focus on their core competency.” By outsourcing distribution infrastructure functions, “investments can be made in their core competencies, and they`ll let others who made investments in other areas handle those areas.”
Murphy said independent research covering electric, gas, telco, and cable companies showed that the amount of work utilities contracted out gained by 20 percent in one year. This is notable because the overall amount of T&D OEM work has not increased; so the amount of contracted work gained is not merely an accompaniment of a larger T&D trend-it indicates a real shift from inside to outside sources.
Formed at the end of 1997, Exelon Infrastructure`s ability to provide bundling of electric, gas and telco in a common trench has been attractive to Mid-Atlantic and Midwest electric utilities, and commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. Murphy said, “We broker relationships between utilities that in the past may not have worked together.”