U.S. Consumer Group Calls for Freer Distributed Generation

Distributed generation may be one of the factors to answer what the Consumer Federation of America calls the “costly failure” of deregulation in U.S. power markets.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-09-18 [SolarAccess.com] Distributed generation may be one of the factors to answer what the Consumer Federation of America calls the “costly failure” of deregulation in U.S. power markets. States that have restructured have seen their power prices rise and service become less reliable, says the consumer group in a 29 page study. It urges states to curb or drop their plans for deregulation until federal officials overhaul electric industry oversight. “Highly concentrated generation markets bred price gouging and hoarding,” it says. “A transmission grid that was not designed and had inadequate capacity to support competitive markets” and “a transmission grid owned by utilities who often refused to let their part of the grid be operated in an open, non-discriminatory manner that allowed competition.” A Minnesota power utility recently stated that it had surplus wind power but that it could not feed into the California market because it did not have sufficient transmission grid access. Further electricity market restructuring should stop until states reorient their approach to competitive bidding for long-term supply and avoid spot markets, and federal policymakers ensure competitive inter-state wholesale markets and an open inter-state electron highway system with adequate capacity, says the CFA report. The Electric Power Supply Association of Washington argues that it is too soon to analyze the effects of retail competition and some states that are deregulating had expensive power before the process began.
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