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Prior Restraint

Revealing the true story on smart grid development.

Fortnightly Magazine - June 2008

conflict with [the holding company’s] strategy.

“They’ve lobbied in the past against other things that would reduce consumers’ energy bills, so we’re skeptical about this rider.”

This observation suggests the company might be trying to avoid a transparent rate case because it fears the implications of a truly smart grid. To wit, the company might prefer an opaque process because it views the smart grid, and smart metering in particular, as the camel’s nose under the tent, portending the arrival of true retail competition—which never really got going under the state’s flawed restructuring legislation.

As Reliant CEO Mark Jacobs observes in this year’s CEO Forum feature , smart metering is the enabling technology for retail competition, and it will hurt companies that aren’t ready to compete in a truly open marketplace.

Stay tuned; this story isn’t over.