Columnist Jay Hancock of the Baltimore Sun takes note of a complaint filed at FERC by the Maryland Public Service Commission that alleges local market power in PJM’s wholesale power market added $87.5 million to energy costs in the state. Hancock provides a link to the complaint at FERC for the curious.
Also in Maryland, some customers of Allegheny Power were upset that the utility mailed them two compact fluorescent bulbs. According to reports in the Cumberland Times-News, at first at least some customers thought the bulbs were free and later discovered the utility was tacking on an extra 96 cents a month over a year for the light bulbs. (While a different kind of program, it sounds kind of like the mandatory participation in utility program proposal that has customers upset in California. See Lynne’s post: Programmable Thermostat Regulations in California: Big Brother or Control Freaks?)
Elsewhere, the Dallas Morning News wonders, “Is electricity deregulation a raw deal for Texas?” A follow-up story profiles PUC chairman Barry Smitherman and his efforts to let competition work in Texas. Likely the panelists at this Friday’s conference at AEI will have something to say about competition and electric power in Texas.
Tim Harford provides some commentary on the Google prediction market paper. (See our earlier post: Prediction markets at Google.) By the way, Harford will be in DC promoting his new book, The Logic of Life, on January 24.
At Reason, Brian Doherty interviews New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston about Johnston’s book, Free Lunch. Doherty points out that much of the abuse Johnston ties to a blind faith in free markets actually results from government action, but Doherty nonetheless finds that Johnston does employ some sound market-oriented arguments in the book. Marty Schladen of The Daily News in Galveston, Texas, also reports on the book. A short review of the book recently ran in Mother Jones magazine.
Stan J. Liebowitz and Stephen E. Margolis, bring us “Bundles of Joy: The Ubiquity and Efficiency of Bundles in New Technology Markets.” (HT to the Antitrust & Competition Law Blog.)
UPDATE: In the comments, David Cay Johnston writes:
Your commentary on the Reason interview bollixes the facts.
In Free Lunch I cite hard data and a fascinating experiment by computer science professor, as well as tell a story, of how government created what might be called faux markets since they drive prices up. Free Lunch shows over three chapters that governments adopted laws, drafted by Enron, that created asymmetrical “markets.”