Restructuring the Electric Industry

Will competition help or hurt consumers?


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 ...

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