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DQE CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR ADOPTION OF NATIONAL ENERGY STRATEGY

 DQE CHAIRMAN CALLS FOR ADOPTION OF NATIONAL ENERGY STRATEGY
 PITTSBURGH, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Calling for the adoption of a National Energy Strategy currently before Congress (House Bill 776, Senate Bill 2166), DQE (NYSE: DQE) Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wesley W. von Schack told shareholders at the company's annual meeting today that legislation would help meet future national electric energy needs by encouraging competition in the wholesale power market.
 Among the most important issues under consideration are expanded transmission capacity and access. "These are critical energy issues nationally, as well as to DQE, its customers and shareholders," von Schack said. He emphasized that it is "very difficult to achieve competition without the ability to move power over the national transmission grid."
 He pointed out that the company's planned power sale to General Public Utilities, which was announced in 1990, is compatible with the national energy strategy. "This transaction will reactivate idled generating capacity, provide necessary transmission capacity and access, alleviate a serious bottleneck and transfer power to areas that need it," von Schack said.
 The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved an order on April 2 of this year concluding that the power sale is in the public interest. The PUC will conduct public hearings relating to the transmission line siting in coming months.
 The chairman also pointed out the importance of the project to the regional economy. The Pennsylvania Economy League estimates that it will create more than 11,000 construction-related jobs and more than 1,500 permanent jobs. The project represents more than a $500 million private investment in the state's infrastructure and will return $1.1 billion to Duquesne Light customers over the next 20 years. "This transmission line is good for our customers, good for our region, and good for our nation," he said.
 In discussing the 1990 Clean Air Act, von Schack said the company is in a "very good position in terms of compliance and costs, thanks to our long-standing policy of environmental leadership and our investment of more than $600 million in air and water control equipment since 1970. And compliance costs will be significantly lower than neighboring electric utilities."
 Von Schack assured shareholders that continuous improvement in daily operations remains a very high priority. "Independent customer surveys tell us that we are a leader in customer satisfaction," he said. "For example, our record in quickly restoring power after storms is the best in the region."
 Von Schack said that the accomplishments of the past year represented a continuation of the company's "eventful and successful comeback trip" since the mid-1980s, when Duquesne Light lost 60 percent of its industrial sales and 20 percent of total sales. He cited favorable comments by financial analysts and the price of the common stock closing at a 22-year high in 1991 as evidence that "Wall Street has recognized our achievements. In fact, total average annual return to shareholders during the past five years has exceeded that of most major utilities."
 He concluded by telling shareholders that while it appears that the economy has bottomed out, most economists anticipate only modest economic expansion during the next few years. "We believe that we can meet the challenges of a difficult economy and, at the same time, continue to deliver quality energy to our customers and increased value to our shareholders," he said.
 -0- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Edward H. Sehon of Duquesne Light, 412-393-6058 or at home, 412-571-0126/
 (DQE) CO: DQE ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI OIL SU:


CD -- PG006 -- 3704 04/28/92 11:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1992
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