14 Jun 2012
by Kenneth Rose
States that restructured their electricity market to separate power generation from other retail services did so in part to create competition and bring their generally higher power prices down. The move has not produced the desired result.
One of Justice Brandeis’ more memorable quotes was from a 1932 dissent, in which he stated that “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” While states do not necessarily start out to perform an experiment so much as change public policy, 13 states and the District of Columbia did decide to restructure the electricity market in their jurisdictions, separating generation from retail electricity service and allowing retail customers access to a variety of service suppliers. More than twice as many states – 30 in all – chose not to do so.