Watching Government
Heat on Richardson

US Energy Sec. Bill Richardson's diplomatic skills came to the forefront in the recent home heating oil price crisis.Richardson has experience as a hostage negotiator and served as US ambassador to the United Nations. He did as much as anyone could to assuage New Englanders furious over home heating oil price increases (see story, p. 32).Price spikes aren't unusual when winter storms halt transportation in the Northeast, but the public's reaction always seems to be the same: If prices are sharply higher, then oil companies must be gouging consumers.There really was no simple answer. Frozen harbors, higher world oil prices, interruptible gas supply contracts, and low inventorie...

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