On April 26, members of the Northern Illinois Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (NIACCA) met with Congressman Henry Hyde (6th District), Chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, to discuss market power concerns in federal utility deregulation legislation.

Also joining the meeting were John Herzog, Public Policy vice president from the national headquarters of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), and representatives of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) on behalf of the National Alliance for Fair Competition (NAFC), a group of 10 trade organizations representing approximately 3,500 contractor members.

NIACCA and NECA are actively participating in a national effort to convince Congress to include language prohibiting cross-subsidization in federal utility deregulation legislation. Without such prohibitions, utilities would be able to use tangible and intangible assets paid for by ratepayer funds to support new, unregulated affiliate organizations that compete with many NIACCA and ACCA members.

“In essence, this means that when contractors pay their utility bills, they will be helping the utility put them out of business,” according to NIACCA.

Congressman Hyde said he was very knowledgeable about the cross-subsidization issue and was sympathetic to contractors’ concerns. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Congress-man Hyde’s interest in cross-subsidization focuses on the anti-trust aspects of utility restructuring.

For more information on NIACCA’s lobbying efforts, contact association president Chris Colditz, Laco Mechanical; 847-358-3300; 847-705-5690 (fax); laco@ce.mediaone.net (e-mail).