Speaking last fall in New York City, Rep. John D. Dingell (D-MI), the ranking Democratic leader of the House Commerce Committee, questioned the need for federal legislation on electric utility restructuring, and even warned the audience that passage of any federal legislation in the 105th Congress to require electric competition was far from guaranteed.
The occasion for the talk was a conference entitled, "Deregulation (em The Changing Electric Utility Industry (em Opportunities and Risks," sponsored by the financial house of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., and the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP.
Dingell queried whether the electric industry needs federal regulation, and said that Congress should to examine how a change in regulation will affect utility stocks and bonds. He called for Congress to respond with caution to cries for electric industry competition because it "is not an industry in crisis, but there is however, a real danger that the Congress could put this industry to the brink of crisis." Dingell added that the energy bills introduced in the 104th Congress were "long on economic theory but short on practicality," and not supported by sufficient economic analysis.