BY THE END OF MARCH, CALIFORNIA, RHODE ISLAND, and Massachusetts planned to offer retail choice to customers. However, early signs suggest electric competition may fall short of expectations due to stranded cost recovery mechanisms and the desire of customers to protect themselves from risks inherent in a competitive market.
When the California market was about open, less than 5 percent of customers had elected to switch suppliers. In Massachusetts, more than 40 companies originally planned to compete to supply retail power; only three companies had submitted applications by press time. In Rhode Island, which opened last summer for large customers, most customers opted to remain with the incumbent utility.