"It's going to take a lost of time to understand all the pies."
It's almost spring. There's a new energy secretary(emisn't there? And at least for new electric restructuring bills in Congress. Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska) is chairing "workshops" on deregulation at the Energy and Natural Resources committee.
Everyone's wondering: Which bill take hold? Where will it be and how will it look by the end of the legislative session: dead, alive, or limp?
Only time and lobbying will tell, as the Senate and the House are approaching restructuring in different ways, both in substance and in pace. But here's what industry reps, legislative aides and a onetime energy Committee chairman told PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY as Congress Convened:
• A bipartisan issue. "Consumer choice" isn't political. Everyone appears to want an end to the utility monopoly so that consumers can buy cheap, reliable power. At the start of the session, legislation flew from all sides. A draft bill surfaced from the Department of Energy, expected to be followed by an Administration bill. House and Senate Republicans and Democrats authored more defined bills. An aide to one Democratic congressman says his boss has long wanted to work with Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.) on a bipartisan measure. Rifts may turn out to be regional(emlow-cost vs. high-cost states(emor philosophical: Is the best route to competition wholesale or retail?