The latest resistance to deregulation is built on a foundation of lies.
It is now more than 15 years since the UK deregulated its electricity market. Since then, there has been an inexorable—though fitful, and still far from complete—move toward competitive electricity markets around the world. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, this has been met by opposition and denunciations from a motley assortment of anti-market naysayers and recalcitrants, some driven by philosophical dislike, and others by the preservation of entrenched privilege.
The naysayers have a disdain for markets in all their guises. When not complaining about deregulation, they often can be found protesting the latest meeting of the World Trade Organisation. These groups advance the argument that electricity, or almost any form of economic activity for that matter, is too important to be trusted to markets.
This article does not attempt to mount a comprehensive defense of market economics. For many of us, the benefits of market competition are manifest, including greater operational efficiency, better allocation of capital, product and service innovation, customer choice, and the redistribution of risk from end-consumers to shareholders.