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As this issue goes to press, Consolidated Edison, that much maligned electric utility serving New York City's demanding populace, faces bankruptcy unless the New York State legislature takes measures to provide state aid to the ailing power company. Part of its trouble stems from a rise in the utility's oil bill of $450 million, a figure Con Ed chairman Charles Luce notes is more than three times the company's 1973 dividend payments. Undoubtedly Con Ed's problems will be somehow solved. But, coming on the heels of a virtually nationwide shortage of gasoline at consumer pumps, the power company's problem seems just one more in an open-ended series of minicrises that together may characterize the next several years Â¿ not only in the U.S., but in advanced nations everywhere.