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Editor’s Dilemma

There’ll
be changes in these pages because I’ve got a problem to resolve.

My dilemma concerns how to
cover the huge story of the restructuring of the electric utility
industry-a story that’s jumped to the front pages after
California’s experience with high prices and power blackouts.
Here’s why this is a tricky story to cover in Kentucky Living:

You’re kind of interested.
Your cards and letters and conversations, plus scientific polling
we’ve conducted, and common sense, tell us you’re very interested
in the price and availability of electricity. But you’ve got more
important things to do than spend a lot of time learning all the
details about utilities.

It’s frighteningly
complicated
. Turning clumps of coal into a TV show or a warm
house in winter and a cool one in summer takes a lot of incredibly
complex and technical steps. Some of you have told us you want
deregulation issues explained in ways that are easier to
understand. I thought I was doing that, but obviously I need to
try harder.

It’s controversial.
Some of you are for restructuring, some against. Most of you seem
to want more information.

I have an opinion. As
fortune would have it, my view matches that of my employer and
publisher, the electric cooperatives of Kentucky. That view is
that reworking the electric industry could wreck a good thing.
That doesn’t mean we’re opposed to change, it means we want to
make sure that any change benefits everyone. Some of you have told
us our coverage shows a bias against restructuring. That concerns
me, because I feel a responsibility to present good information
you can trust, but I also feel a responsibility to express a
strongly held point of view.

Solution. Beginning
this month "The Future of Electricity" column will focus
more on clearly explaining the basic issues of electricity so you
will have the information you need to understand how different
issues affect your electric service. There may be more feature
stories on some of those large issues like restructuring and the
environment. And I will work to keep the opinions mainly in this
editor’s column.

Let me know how we’re doing.

Paul Wesslund

Editor

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