Gas and utility appropriations rise

Investor-owned gas and electric utility appropriations for new plant and equipment jumped 10 percent in the first quarter of 1981 over the last quarter of 1980, the Conference Board reports.

Appropriations authorize the future spending of money and are the first step preceding equipment orders and construction contracts.

The backlog of unspent appropriations at the end of the first quarter was $ 106.7 billion, up 1 percent over the 1980 fourth quarter.

This backlog would support 3 1/2 years of expenditures at the current spending rate. Expenditures are actual outlays for new plant and equipment.

Although this backlog is 16 percent higher than five years ago, it is 14 percent lower after accounting for price changes since then.

All of the first-quarter increase came from the gas utilities. Appropriations by the much larger electric utility industry declined 2 percent.

Actual spending by investor-owned utilities fell 6 percent in the first quarter to $7.6 billion. The only time this was surpassed was in 1980's fourth quarter ($8.7 billion). 52900100027321 NOVEMBER 15, 1981

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