DiscoverEnergy Policy NowGrid Forward Debate: Has Electricity Deregulation Led to Better Community Outcomes?
Grid Forward Debate: Has Electricity Deregulation Led to Better Community Outcomes?

Grid Forward Debate: Has Electricity Deregulation Led to Better Community Outcomes?

Update: 2020-10-27
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Electricity market deregulation promised to bring more affordable and reliable electricity to consumers. A quarter of a century after deregulation began, has its promise delivered for all Americans?

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The process of deregulating electricity markets began a quarter of a century ago, with the aim of leveraging competitive market forces to provide consumers with abundant and reliable electricity more economically than ever before. As experience has shown, however, deregulation has brought both benefits and challenges

In the early years of deregulation, an ill-conceived strategy to introduce competition to California’s electricity market led to market manipulation, high energy prices, and ultimately to utility bankruptcies. Yet over the last decade, deregulation has provided generally better outcomes. Competitive markets have been able to efficiently pass cost savings from the shale gas revolution to consumers, and competition has created a dynamic platform for the entry of new forms of clean and distributed energy.

Yet the question remains. On the whole, has deregulation delivered on its promise to give consumers abundant and reliable electricity more economically than before?

This special episode of Energy Policy Now was recorded live at Grid Forward 2020, an annual event that brings together leading insights from a range of stakeholders to address opportunities for electric grid modernization. Debaters Mark Kolesar and Bruce Edelston square off around the question of whether deregulation has ultimately led to better community outcomes which, in today’s context, means more than just cheap and reliable service, but also equitable access to clean energy options, and the environmental and public health benefits that a cleaner electricity system promises.

Mark Kolesar is Managing Principal at Kolesar Buchanan and Associates, and former Chairman of the Alberta Utilities Commission.

Bruce Edelston is President of the Energy Policy Group and former Vice President for Energy Policy at the Southern Company.

Grid Forward is an industry association defining pathways for electric grid modernization via advanced technology, policy progress and business innovation.

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Grid Forward Debate: Has Electricity Deregulation Led to Better Community Outcomes?

Grid Forward Debate: Has Electricity Deregulation Led to Better Community Outcomes?

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy