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D.C. utilities seek minority firms.

Three Washington, D.C., utility companies have hired a black-owned consulting firm to conduct a nationwide search for minority contractors. The Potomac Electric Power Co. (PEPCO), Washington Gas Co. and Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. (C&P) launched this initiative to extend greater opportunity to minority businesses competing for contracts.

The effort to identify and use more minority firms is the result of a voluntary agreement," reached by the three utilities and the District of Columbia Public Service Commission. The companies wanted to increase the amount of business they do with minority firms, but they felt that there weren't enough minority businesses in the nation's capital to adequately fill the demand for a number of goods and services. "Ifs important to target the availability of companies in our service area, but Washington is not an industrial town. If we don't find firms in the District, we must look nationwide," says Norman L. Carter, manager of minority business development for PEPCO. "Every minority business doesn't belong to the National Minority Suppliers Development Corp. We wanted to expand the number of firms we had to choose from." The search for minority firms will be conducted by St. Louis-based Roberts-Roberts & Associates. The firm's president, Michael Roberts, says it will complete an availability study of minority firms and then establish a National Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Registry. Washington Gas awarded $8.9 million in contracts to minorities in 1990 and awarded $20.9 million in contracts in 1991. "We would like to better our past year's performance," says Jimmy Harrison, coordinator of minority business development for Washington Gas.

Carter wants PEPCO to improve as well. Just over 4%, or $33.2 million, of PEPCO's purchases were made with minority-owned companies last year. He also notes that PEPCO has several accounts at independence Federal Savings Bank, ranked No. 2 on the 1992 BE FINANCIALS LIST. And North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Co., No. 1 on the 1992 BE INSURANCE LIST, manages 5% of PEPCO's pension fund investments. The National MBE Registry encourages minority businesses to apply. Companies may write Roberts-Roberts & Associates, 1408 No. Kings Highway, Suite 300, St. Louis, MO 63113; or call 314-367-4600 ext. 27.
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Title Annotation:utility companies in Washington, D.C.
Author:Harris, Hamil R.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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