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The Feds Can Lead...By Getting Out of the Way

Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1996

by the states in an atmosphere not chilled by jurisdictional uncertainty, Congress will find itself better able, after the transition, to delineate the proper division between state and federal authority, especially if important issues remain.

Before jumping into the fray, though, federal lawmakers must accept that competitive markets produce winners and losers, among both customers and suppliers. State initiatives have been stymied because, in large part, they have sought to ensure competitive benefits to all customers, while safeguarding utilities and independent power producers. As long as policymakers seek to assure that no one will lose out, a competitive market will remain out of reach. t

Steven M. Fetter is senior director of the Global Power Group at Fitch Investors Service, a credit-rating agency based in New York City. Mr. Fetter formerly served as chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission.

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