WASHINGTON – Did she say that right?
Cheryl LaFleur, the acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, last week raised a possibility that would have seemed impossible two decades ago in the midst of the deregulation craze
“Door number three,” LaFleur told lawyers gathered at a luncheon of the conservative Federalist Society, ”is an actual change to the regulatory paradigm, not just an adjustment, reregulation.”
Such a term might sound like heresy in the state capitol in Austin, where public officials regularly extoll the virtues of Texas’s decision to deregulate electricity markets in 2002, part of a grand national experiment to see if by breaking up the old utility monopolies the government could spur innovation and bring down power costs.
As a result, the majority of customers in Texas are now free to choose among dozens of different power retailers, while coal plants, nuclear plants, wind turbines, and the like pile into a daily auction to try and sell their electricity onto the grid.
But two and a half decades after Congress passed the law that allowed deregulation, there is a nagging group wondering whether a free market for electricity is all it cracked up to be. Would it be such a bad idea for the government to step in?
READ MORE at Houstonchronicle.com: Has electricity deregulation hit a wall?