What's in a Name?
Charles Studness's article "CPUC Chooses Reregulation over Deregulation" (Financial News, July 15, 1995) reminds me of Humpty Dumpty's scornful remark in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass: "When I use a word, it means what I choose it to mean (em nothing more nor less."
When Studness discusses "deregulation," it is clearly what he chooses it to mean (em not what the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) proposes in its May 24 majority decision on deregulating the electric utility industry. While Studness's article abounds in inaccuracies, I will limit myself to three of the most egregious.
First, Studness states that the CPUC's proposed decision "retreats from the free market," and that it "amounts to a tacit admission that the CPUC cannot accomplish the task of implementing competition." This is simply not so.
The cornerstone of the CPUC's majority decision is a free market. A competitive "pool," or spot market, is based on unbridled competition among generators to meet the demand for electricity. As a result of this competition, all customers receive timely, accurate price information to negotiate any deal with any supplier. Far from shrinking from the responsibility of implementing a competitive electricity market, the CPUC has taken a bold step toward forcing full and complete competition while ensuring all customers fair treatment in an efficient and reliable electric system in the future.
The second major inaccuracy is Studness's claim that the CPUC's decision shifts the focus from consumer choice and competitive market forces to a government-sponsored spot market. It just
isn't so. The majority decision