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Reforming California: Reflections on the Morning After

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1998

slightly more than competitors and offer superb customer service will succeed in this business. I agree with Judith Smith, an analyst with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, who said, "success in this market will go to those that imagine how things that don't yet exist, together with things only recently created, will interact to produce a whole new world of opportunity."

As I write, California's restructured electric market is just a few days short of 180 days old. That is a nanosecond in the life of a market. Not long ago, I was the lone voice at the commission advocating retail competition. Today, we have a market in the middle of a transition, with most people at the commission agreeing with my thinking more often than not.

As I finish my term, I'm optimistic that California and the nation will reap significant benefits from electric competition. Years from now, when we reflect on decisions made at the close of the 20th century, we will not fault ourselves for moving too fast, but rather for underestimating the promise of restructuring for our state and the nation.

Jessie J. Knight Jr. has served on the California Public Utilities Commission since 1993. His term ends next month.


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