Richard Stavros’ September 2006 Frontlines (“The Geopolitics of the Grid”) was well done. I enjoyed reading it.
Regarding the paragraph raising questions about why there are major disparities in retail electric rates from one region of the country to another, one major contributing reason is archaic and unfair federal subsidies. Congress did not deal with the federal electricity subsidies problem in either the 1992 or the 2005 energy legislation. BPA and related deep federal subsidies explain why the Pacific Northwest has low retail electricity prices. The same goes for much of the TVA service area, Nebraska, and a number of other states that receive, in one form or another, deep and growing federal subsidies.
The Congress, of course, prefers to act like the subsidies don’t matter, or to look the other way, but the United States will never have competitive, fair, wholesale electric markets as long as the Feds continue to deeply subsidize certain utilities and not others.
Also, a significant amount of this low-priced subsidized electricity is provided to middle- and high-income households, while oftentimes the poor inner city metro area residences do not benefit at all because their utility providers are not subsidized.