Regulation and the unique disposition requirements of transformers and other oil-filled equipment are the primary differentiators between utility company IR managers and their counterparts in other industries. And their disposition requirements are huge! Regional utilities in the midst of upgrades can recycle upwards of 40 million pounds of oil-filled equipment in a year. Twenty million additional pounds of scrap metals from electrical cable and other assets is a fairly common annual figure as are a thousand or more vehicles! So utility company IR departments are pretty darn busy!
PCBs. Prior to 1979, when they were banned in the U.S., PCBs were commonly used as a dielectric fluid in electrical transformers, capacitors and other electrical equipment. PCBs were also widely used in a variety of manufactured products, including paints, adhesives, machinery lubricants and coolants. Even with equipment that is still performing, equipment containing PCB compounds is being removed from service by many members—with utilities leading the way.
No Shortage of Regulators. PCB disposal, plus the cleaning and recycling of previously contaminated items, is regulated by the EPA, adding even more agency oversight in an already regulated industry. (Several Associate members provide this specialized service to members and are regulars at the
seminars and trade show.)
Leaders in green. Visit most any utility website and you will quickly realize that utility companies are environmental stewards in dozens of ways. For example, Xcel Energy IR Specialist, Carla Hicks states that their company is currently researching alternate methods for disposal for porcelain. She adds, “Porcelain is generally an industry-specific product and thus far, incurs a cost for disposal via land-filling. Xcel is looking for another method of disposition, even if it’s a ‘no-pay’. It’s still a potential cost savings and a green initiative that we feel is worthy of research.”

“See you in new Orleans!” Universally, utility IR managers mentioned how valuable the IR seminars and trade show are for them in establishing friendships and business contacts that can help streamline current practices and procedures while ensuring greater profits.