State regulators turn to telecom to salvage the clout they've lost in energy.
State public utility commissions now seem to spend more time on telecommunications than electricity or natural gas. That's their new power base. The telephone local loop marks the one place where state regulators still have clout.
To test that notion, let's see who attended last month's annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, held in San Antonio. By my count, out of the first 500 registered attendees, over 120 (24 percent) came from telecommunications firms.