To All a Good Night

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight —
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

That’s St. Nick. Doing his duty, delivering cheer, to every door, without much ado. Just like utilities and utility regulators, it seems to me.

Which reminds me that, on December 12, the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its Consumer Price Index data for November. The overall CPI was up 2.2 percent during the twelve months through November 2018. The CPI for electricity was up too during the period, though much less, 0.6 percent.

The PUF CPI Gap — defined as the difference between the two CPI’s — was therefore a positive 1.6 percent. This indicates that the average price nationally that consumers pay for electric service (electric rates) decreased in real or inflation-adjusted terms.

It’s like a great present — beautifully wrapped — left under the tree for consumers.

Let’s drill down regionally. The PUF CPI Gap in November was a positive 4.2 percent in the midwest and 1.5 percent in the south. Much more than a stocking stuffer.

And it was a positive 0.7 percent in the west. Not too bad.

But the PUF CPI Gap was actually a negative 0.4 percent in the northeast. Like finding a lump of coal (or therm of gas) on Christmas morn.

What is Public Utilities Fortnightly? It’s essentially an “association.” Who are its members? State regulatory commissions, utilities, consumer advocates, vendors, professional firms and other PUF member organizations. What’s its purpose? To enable member organizations to highlight and debate developments in utility regulation and policy in the public interest.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly, and President, Lines Up, Inc.
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