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Today's world economy is undergoing fundamental changes. Exhilarating to some, challenging to many, these changes are forever altering the ways every enterprise acquires wealth and creates shareholder value. The Internet, with its capabilities to connect every enterprise with its customers and suppliers, and to blur distinctions between content delivery and business transactions, is accelerating the pace and the scale of economic change. In order for utilities to thrive in an interconnected, information-rich, and highly competitive global economy, they too must undergo fundamental changes. Utilities, facing both deregulation and the slow expansion of markets for commodity products and services, are beginning to adopt new business models and practices that will promote their growth. And ensure their survival.
In recent decades, major shifts have occurred in the world economy in general and the U.S. economy in particular. The creation of wealth is shifting from an industrial base to enterprises that blend traditional products and services with technology and information.
The current economic transformation to the "Information Age" is every bit as revolutionary as the historical evolution from an agrarian to an industrial economy. Though the economic transformation itself is well documented and well understood, some of today's financial realities can be perplexing, especially to executives accustomed to traditional methods of assessing a company's net worth. Traditionally, industrial companies -- including utilities -- measured success by their operational excellence in managing their large asset base. Metrics, like revenue and profitability, were tightly linked to shareholder …