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In terms of plant expansion, licensing, and the construction of much-needed facilities to keep pace with the increasing demand for power, 1974 was hardly a banner year for the power industry. Tight money, high interest rates, and fuel costs were primarily responsible for putting the damper on both fuel and nuclear expansion programs. Added to all that, the consumer really decided to conserve on electricity and cut back on his energy consumption by about 5 percent during last winter's fuel crisis/crunch. The effort proved to be a two-edged sword in that it had a reverse cutting edge, reducing revenues for the utilities. Thus, a paradoxical situation occurred: a rise in electricity rates for the nonuse of power — much to the chagrin of industry and the consumer. The utilities, however, blamed the increased rates on the exorbitantly high cost of fuel oil since the Mideast war of 1973. As a matter of fact, Dun's Review estimates that, on a national basis, the average unit cost of electricity increased by 55 percent in 1974 — compared with 12 percent during 1973.