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Competition Stymied in Illinois, Oregon

Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

Bills that would have restructured electric markets in Illinois and Oregon have died due to lack of support.

A bill, H.B. 2821, which would have opened the Oregon electric market to competition by October 2001, has died in the Oregon House, lacking the 31 votes needed for passage. Meanwhile, the Illinois Senate has decided to postpone until the fall its deliberations on the state's proposed electric restructuring bill, which has the approval of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Industrial customers and consumer groups supported the Oregon bill. Larger investor-owned utilities, however, believed the bill would have left shareholders paying too much of stranded costs. Smaller IOUs feared higher rates.

The Illinois legislation proposed residential rate cuts of 10 percent in January 1998, and an additional 5-percent cut in 2000, with residential customer choice phased-in between 2000 and 2002. Large industrials would have choice at the end of 1999.

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Lori A. Burkhart and Phillip S. Cross are associate legal editors with PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.

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