"This legislation represents a piecemeal approach to a problem which requires deliberate and thoughtful consideration .... [It] could lead to 'cream-skimming,' which would result in increased rates for the remaining business and residential customers" (Lincoln Almond, Governor of Rhode Island).
Words to this effect are likely to grace vetoes of retail wheeling legislation by governors and maybe the President of the United States for the foreseeable future. Too many people trying to push the deregulation envelope in the electric power industry are leaving small customers, and the ability to profit by serving them, out of the equation.
Unless deregulation enables households and small businesses to shop for power, direct access isn't going to materialize. And that means that opportunities to make money and create genuinely value-added products and services could be delayed indefinitely. That's bad for suppliers, marketers, and customers of all shapes and sizes.
We can wade through the many proposals emerging from states and special interest groups and the patchwork of state deregulation blueprints. And we can continue meeting through venues such as the DOE/NARUC Electricity Forum ad infinitum. Or, stakeholders can begin articulating a plan to speed up the transition to a more competitive and value-driven energy market for all customers.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Almond vetoed retail wheeling legislation last year because it would have exclusively benefited large industrial companies. And if California's recent decision is any indication, households and small businesses in other states may be left behind.