Regulating Power: The Economics of Electrictiy in the Information Age

Regulating Power: The Economics of Electrictiy in the Information Age

Modem industrial society functions with the expectation that electricity will be available when required. By law, electric utilities have the obligation to provide electricity to customers in a "safe and adequate" manner. In exchange for this obligation, utilities are granted a monopoly right to provide electricity to customers within well-defmed service territories. However, utilities are not unfettered in their monopoly power; public utility commissions regulate the relationship between a utility and its customers and limit profits to a "fair rate of return on invested capital. " From its inception through the late 1970s, the electric utility industry's opera tional paradigm was to continue marketing electricity to customers and to build power plants to meet customer needs. This growth was facilitated by a U. S. energy policy predicated upon the assumption that sustained electric growth was causally linked to social welfare (Lovins, 1977). The electric utility industry is now in transition from a vertically integrated monopoly to a more competitive market. Of the three primary components (generation, transmission, and distribution) of the traditional vertically integrated monopoly, generation is leading this transformation. The desired outcome is a more efficient market for the provision of electric service, ultimately resulting in lower costs to customers. This book focuses on impediments to this transformation. In partiCUlar, it argues that information control is a form of market power that inhibits the evolution of the market. The analysis is presented within the context of the transformation of the U. S.

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Publisher Springer Science & Business Media
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ISBN 1461532582
Pages 229 pages
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