Review of Kiesling and Kleit (eds.) Electricity Restructuring: The Texas Story

Michael Giberson

In the current issue of Regulation, Tim Brennan reviews Electricity Restructuring: The Texas Story, edited by Andrew Kleit and our own Lynne Kiesling. After a lengthy introduction discussing how deregulation came to the electric power business (mostly it hasn’t, but parts of the industry have been reorganized), Brennan gets down to the book at hand.  He tells us, “The subject of their important book is why Texas appears to have succeeded where the rest of the country has failed.”

Electric Restructuring: The Texas StoryBrennan finds the book useful as a guide to what Texas has been doing with its electric power market and how they got to where they are today. He finds the book a bit full of “inside baseball,” stocked as it is with contributions from many of the state commissioners, regulatory staff and other folks who were front-line participants in the developments discussed. Brennan would have liked to see more external evaluations of market performance to complement the insider views.  He also found that the book missed opportunities to convey some of the lessons learned in the Texas experience, as with Texas’s initial choice of a zonal market design and subsequent switch to a nodal market design. Finally, with the book’s heavy focus on the Texas experience, it neglects discussion of developing issues of interest.

Overall, despite the mild criticism, Brennan finds the book a valuable contribution on a subject of importance. I’ll endorse that view. Anyone who wishes to be up-to-speed on electric power restructuring policies in the United States should read this book.