Who Stands to Benefit?

Economists often seem enamored of economic efficiency, honoring its merits while decrying the lost benefits of inefficient outcomes. But really ... what's the harm in a little inefficiency? Well, the harm may be more real than we recognize.

FERC's Mega-NOPR: The IOUs Respond

It comes as no surprise that regulated investor-owned utilities (IOUs) hold divergent views on the restructuring of the electric industry. Size, generation cost, transmission access, customer loyalty, and the friendliness of state regulators all factor into their individual visions of restructuring.

Identifying Market Power in Electric Generation

To what extent should regulation yield to market forces in setting wholesale electric prices? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) posed this question when it sought comments on whether open transmission access would eliminate the need for anything like traditional rate regulation.

Transmission or Distribution? Reengineering Cost-of-Service Studies for the Emerging Competitive Market

Why will cost-of-service studies continue to prove useful in a competitive market?

Cost is one of more than a dozen factors to consider in setting prices, whether in a regulated environment or a competitive regime. However, the relative significance of these factors will change under competition, when understanding the true cost of an individual service will actually become more important than under regulation.

Price Risk Management: Electric Power vs. Natural Gas

The deregulated power market will feature large numbers of buyers and sellers. Buyers will worry that prices will rise unexpectedly above current levels; sellers will worry that prices will fall unexpectedly. Some will be interested in fixed-price forward deals that protect them from these risks.

Regulatory Reforms in Telecom Mature

Having committed to employing competition in the telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC) market to elicit the broadest range of service offerings while ensuring fair rates, state commissions are now establishing regulations to put the new policies into effect. Current investigations focus on the proper costing and rate-setting methods for interconnection and transport services among newly competing carriers.

Price-Based Regulation: The Elegance of Simplicity

When economic reformers in the old Soviet Union searched for a metaphor to describe their move to a market economy, they a spoke of a horseman jumping a ditch. The true test of a strategy was that it carried you to the other side. It was no time for half-measures.

Electric utility regulators face a similar challenge.