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Utilities plan $17.5 billion for new facilities

The nation's investor-owned gas and electric utilities set aside $17.5 billion (seasonally adjusted) for new plant and equipment in the second quarter of 1981, up 75 percent from the first quarter, the Conference Board reports.

Appropriations by the electric utilities doubled in the second quarter, while gas appropriations dropped 50 percent. The second-quarter appropriations figure has been surpassed only once, in the second quarter of 1980.

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Capital appropriations are authorizations to spend money in the future.