Discussion Paper

Getting on the Map: The Political Economy of State-Level Electricity Restructuring

May 1, 1998 | Amy W. Ando, Karen L. Palmer

Abstract

Retail competition in electricity markets is expected to lead to more efficient electricity supply, lower electricity prices, more innovation by suppliers and a greater variety of electric power service packages. However, only a handful of states have currently gone so far as to pass legislation and/or make regulatory decisions to establish retail wheeling. This paper analyzes a variety of factors that may influence the rate at which legislators and regulators move towards establishing retail competition. In general, we find that where one interest group dominates others in the struggle for influence over the decision makers, the net effect seems to push a state forward more quickly when retail wheeling is expected to yield large efficiency gains.