Restructuring the Electric Industry

January 17, 1997 • Volume 7, Issue 2
Will competition help or hurt consumers?
By Kenneth Jost


(Photo Credit:  Energy Information Administration) (Photo Credit:  Energy Information Administration)

Competition is coming to one of the last remaining government-regulated monopolies: the electric powerindustry. Seven states have adopted policies within the past year that give electric customers the right to choose between competing suppliers. Many other states are considering similar moves, and Congress is being urged to make competition national policy. Advocates say competition will bring lower prices, but critics fear the savings will only go to big industrial customers.Most electric utilities are resisting the change; they fear that competition may weaken their customer base. They also want to be compensated for the costs of power plants that may not be competitive in a free market. The issues are complex, the stakes are high and lobbying is likely to be intense in Washington and in state capitals.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Public Utilities and Electricity
Feb. 19, 2010  Modernizing the Grid
Jan. 14, 2000  Utility Deregulation
Jan. 17, 1997  Restructuring the Electric Industry
Nov. 20, 1987  Deregulating Electric Power
Aug. 23, 1985  Electricity Supply: Surplus or Shortage?
Mar. 14, 1975  Future of Utilities
Dec. 17, 1969  Electric Power Problems
Jul. 15, 1953  Power Policy
Aug. 04, 1948  Power Shortage
Aug. 04, 1930  Publicly-Owned Power Plants
Jun. 28, 1928  Public Utilities' Propaganda in the Schools
Nov. 12, 1927  Power and Public Utility Issues
Aug. 30, 1926  Rural Electrification in the United States
Jan. 09, 1926  Public Regulation of Electrical Utilities
Electric Power
Regulation and Deregulation