U.S. banks are among the largest commercial consumers of electrical power. They're in for a shock, too, as they open their utility bills in the months ahead: electricity rates, already high, are rising fast and poised to soar even higher.

While spiraling electricity costs are driven in part by increasing prices of resources such as coal and natural gas, lack of new generation capacity is also a major culprit. The June 30th issue of Forbes reported, "By as early as next year our demand for electricity will exceed reliable supply in New England, Texas and the West and, by 2011, in New York and the mid-Atlantic region." As a result, the article cautioned, "...get ready for spiking electricity rates, brownouts and even blackouts..."

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