Democracy And Regulation
Democracy And Regulation

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Jerrold Oppenheim
Theo MacGregor

57 Middle Street
Gloucester, Mass.
01930 USA

Other Works
By Greg Palast

Whither Retail Competition?: A Residential and Low-Income View
The Santa Fe Conference
March 22, 2004
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Slides presented by Jerrold Oppenheim at a conference sponsored by the New Mexico State University Center for Public Utilities.

The objective of electric utility policy should include reliable service and affordable, stable prices for residential customers. Retail (and even wholesale) competition has not accomplished this objective anyplace in the world. Instead, it has brought higher and more volatile rates, along with catastrophic failures in customer service, redlining, and sharp increases in low-income arrearages. In addition, the merchant generation business model has failed, which threatens reliability. Future policy directions for residential electric service should include portfolio management that requires least-cost resource choices consistent with a portfolio mix that achieves rate stability. There also needs to be a mechanism that assures there will be a builder of last resort to assure supply at a reasonable price.