September 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM EDT
Will Electric Utilities Be Extinct Within a Decade?
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electric grid etfDavid Fessler: I used to be an electrical engineer. I spent more than 20 years designing and testing semiconductor chips for AT&T Inc.(NYSE:T). The chips I worked on ended up in telephone system central offices.

Today, technology is putting landline telephones on the road to extinction. Ten years ago, nearly every house in the U.S. had a landline phone. Today, 51.7% of Americans either don’t have or don’t use their landline. That number is increasing by nearly 2% per year.

The advancement of technology has radically changed many industries. Take mail delivery, for example. The first post office in the New World was established in 1692, but with the onset of email and texting, the U.S. Postal Service is at risk of a complete shutdown.

Newspapers and magazines are in a similar crisis. Publishers are trying to create electronic versions to replace their print counterparts.

Will they survive in that format? Time will tell, but my guess is many will not. Why pay for news you can get for free from other sources?

I could name a dozen other industries that have become obsolete because of technology. However, there’s a sense of impending doom creeping up on one industry most Americans currently depend on.

The End of the Power Grid?

Like the landline telephone grid, the utility-generated power system has been in place for more than 100 years. But changes are in the wind that will soon render the utility-generated-power model obsolete.

Electric utilities’ revenue is based on how much electricity customers use. Every house has an electric meter that measures usage on a real-time basis.

Today a number of “game changers” have utilities worried.

One of the biggest problems for utilities are people like me. I have a

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  2. Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): Can The Electric Car Save The Global Economy?
  3. Electric Transportation Could Jump-Start Rare Earth Markets
  4. Three Industrial ETFs To Buy On General Electric Company’s (GE) Recent Report
  5. Six-Baggers for the Next Decade: Part 1

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