Lynne Kiesling and I have an article in the Fall 2017 Regulation magazine asserting “the need for electricity retail market reforms” (PDF). Our general theme is, as the subtitle puts it, “An innovative 21st century retail electric power market is within reach, but won’t emerge until we ditch 20th century regulations.” We begin: School budgets always seem tight, so … More The Need for Electricity Retail Market Reforms
Lynne Kiesling This may be the beginning of what I’ve been arguing for over the past decade plus … today in Smart Grid News, Jesse Berst reports that Constellation Energy has teamed up with Best Buy to enable customers to come into the store, switch their retail provider, and buy home energy management devices (see … More Innovative retail competition: is it finally starting … and in Chicago?
Michael Giberson We know that several Texas generators were unprepared for the possibility of severe cold on February 2, and now comes word that at least one retail electric provider was similarly unprepared for the possibility of price increases. ERCOT real-time power prices jumped to about $3000/MWh for most of the emergency period that morning. … More Good news and bad news from price-spike induced failure of retail power company in Texas
Michael Giberson YES! magazine presents an interview with Elinor Ostrom, “The Woman Who Just Might Save the Planet and Our Pocketbooks.” The sub-head teaser – “What if our economy was not built on competition?” – is a little over-heated. Nothing in Ostrom work, so far as I know, is opposed to competition. Rather, in the … More Elinor Ostrom interview
Michael Giberson A federal court in Massachusetts has dismissed a class-action claim filed against four Martha’s Vineyard gasoline retailers. The suit claimed the stations engaged in price fixing over several years and in price gouging after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Fall 2005. Defendants argued that pricing patterns observed by plaintiffs were insufficient to support … More Court dismisses price fixing and price gouging claims filed against four Martha’s Vineyard gasoline retailers
Michael Giberson After over 90 years of operating in competition with a rival electric utility in town, late last year Lubbock Power & Light and Xcel announced a deal in which municipal electric utility LP&L would buy out Xcel’s distribution assets and customer accounts in the city for $87 million, leaving LP&L as a monopoly … More How valuable will a monopoly be to Lubbock Power & Light?
Michael Giberson Vero Beach, Florida, could become a hothouse of dynamic competition in retail electric power, if only the city would follow the recommendations of economist Dom Armentano. According to the Vero Beach [Florida] Electric Utility, they aim to provide “reliable, cost competitive electrical energy and services to our customers in a manner that exceeds … More Vero Beach Florida could become a hothouse of dynamic competition in retail electric power
Michael Giberson There is by now a fairly established body of economic history work that challenges what might be called the mainstream view of the origins of state regulation of electric utilities and offers as an alternative a nakedly public choice view that state regulation was all about creation of monopoly rents. The mainstream view … More Origins of state electric utility regulation: Was it protection of quasi-rents not creation of monopoly rents?
Michael Giberson Richard Munson’s book From Edison to Enron provides a pretty engaging run through the history of the electric power business in the United States. The title actually understates the scope just a bit on each end, with Munson touching briefly on developments before Thomas Edison gets involved and discussing developments after Enron’s 2001 … More Munson: From Edison to Enron to Casten
What is unusual about the retail electric power market in Lubbock? Is this regard is Lubbock a harbinger of the industry’s future or a relic of the industry’s past? Why? … More My favorite question on my electric power industry final exam