Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Electric Utiltiies Are Entering Twilight Zone

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is reconsidering its decision to designate the mid-Atlantic region as a priority area for the placement of new high power lines. This is very bad news for consumers and utilities. DOE should stick to its guns. They must be getting serious heat from the states. The designated areas are "National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors." DOE will take more comments and act accordingly. Come on DOE. We need authority to blast through the selfish NIMBYs who don't want utility lines near them but want to use a ton of electricity every day.

Now the states are considering regulating utilities and that would be a disaster. First they convinced the utilities to divest their power plants back in the 1990s to stimulate competition, now legislatures are considering reversing directions and reregulating them to try to control price increases. The legislatures created this problem in the first place by freezing retail rates. This is just a mess. Regardless, keep deregulation. Just allow it to work. Get out of the way and let the market work.

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