Sep
13
2018

Gambling on the Mirage of Customer Choice

With summer diversions in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead to the mid-term elections. Down the ballot from attention-grabbing federal and statewide races sit some key ballot initiatives. Nevada’s Question 3, if approved, would amend the state’s constitution to enshrine deregulation – also known as restructuring, competition, or customer choice – of the state’s electricity market. What’s behind this attempt to make lasting energy policy decisions at the ballot box?

Voters generally respond enthusiastically to the idea of CHOICE in any arena. But in Nevada, famed for casinos and deserts, many are starting to see that Question 3

Aug
02
2018

The Long Shadow of Negative Pricing

 

Top Takeaways:

Renewable energy plays a valuable role in the nation’s generation mix. But when renewable energy flows into the wholesale market at prices below zero, the generation mix is distorted over the long haul. There really is no such thing as “free electricity.”

Like many people, I love free stuff. Tote bags and coffee go-cups top my list of free energy conference swag. So, I can understand why renewable energy enthusiasts enjoy discussing “negative pricing” and the benefits for consumers’ electricity bills. Some trumpet “free electricity” in a manner that calls to mind cell phone advertising.

However,

Jun
12
2018

A Sea of Change in Charleston

It’s 90 degrees in the shade here in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC) has gathered for its annual meeting. Eleven states’ public utility regulators, from Texas and Arkansas to Florida and the Carolinas, are represented. This year’s theme is “Effective Utility Regulation – All in the Public Interest.” In a time of increasing cynicism about government, it’s uplifting to focus on elected officials and professional staff who work hard for consumers each day.

It’s also refreshing to be with so many who accept that appropriate regulation is needed to monitor and provide course

May
22
2018

A Tale of Two States - Deregulation in Texas

Last month, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP) released an update to its regular report on Texas’ deregulated power market. TCAP is a not-for-profit that helps aggregate electricity purchases for dozens of cities in Texas, and so has a vested interest in monitoring the state’s complicated and ever-changing electricity markets. TCAP’s analysis can help you decide whether the Texas deregulation “miracle” is a tall tale.

I became a TCAP fan last summer after identifying them as one of the nation’s few organizations able to discuss “capacity markets” in plain English.

Since Texas is so frequently held up as an

Apr
24
2018

A Rising Tide of Questions About Deregulation

As a long-time and loyal UGA fan, I don’t usually make tide references. But the image occurred to me after reading up on some state developments concerning deregulated electricity markets. State leaders and citizens are increasingly asking questions about whether or not deregulation is all it’s cracked up to be, and most importantly, how it affects consumers. The boldest statements have come in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where last month, Attorney General Maura Healey released a report condemning the state’s competitive retail electricity market. While the report was influenced by a $5 million settlement against one company charged with deceptive

Jan
31
2018

Florida Energy Consumers Win

Common sense prevailed earlier this month at a brief, but important meeting of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). Under extraordinary pressure, five members of the General Provisions Committee did the right thing and rejected a measure that sought to force drastic changes to the state’s electricity landscape on a rigid timeline. Under “Proposal 51,” Florida’s consumers would have been pushed down a path of uncertainty, experimentation and higher costs.

Since electricity deregulation special interests could revive their push for energy choice, it’s critical to understand why consumers won. The clever, but misleading banners of energy choice and energy freedom mask

Jan
11
2018

PACE Continues Florida Engagement on Deregulation

On Friday, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will once again examine deregulation of the wholesale and retail electricity markets. PACE will testify, as we did in December, to share our views and research on why deregulation doesn’t work for consumers.

Dear Chair Thurlow-Lippisch:

Thank you for reconvening the General Provisions Committee on January 12 for a portion of the morning to further discuss Proposal 51. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy will appear again in order to shed light on why Florida should not enshrine complex electricity policy in its Constitution and explain why the Texas electricity market isn’t

Dec
07
2017

Energy Retail Deregulation Wrong Fit for Florida

This week, PACE was on the road in Tallahassee, visiting with several members of the Florida legislature and learning about energy issues likely to arise in the 2018 session. As always, it was enjoyable to be outside the D.C. beltway, with warmer temperatures and fresh Gulf seafood all around.

Snow is rare in Tallahassee, but consumers need to be wary of the potential for a snow-job. Outside interests are setting up camp here to push for electric retail deregulation. Their primary vehicle so far is Prop 51, recently introduced and the likely subject of ongoing deliberations by the state’s Constitutional

Nov
28
2017

The Disaster of Deregulation

Earlier this year, PACE shared some thoughts about deregulation of the electric power retail markets and why it doesn’t make sense for consumers. With state legislatures across the country gearing up for 2018 sessions, it seems timely to touch on the topic again. When it comes to deregulating (or restructuring) retail electricity markets, the song remains the same. Nearly two decades of experimentation, creation of complicated behemoth markets and establishment of cumbersome oversight mechanisms has rarely, if ever, produced meaningful cost savings or competition.

Pushed by giant casinos and renewable advocates, Nevada’s Public Service Commission has recently created a new

Aug
23
2017

Energy Headlines Abroad - U.K. and Mexico

Energy Issues Facing Neighbors and Friends

Upon returning from a great road trip around the Southeast, it seemed appropriate to look abroad at global energy news. As we all pack up the beach gear and prepare to resume work or school, I hope you can find some use in what we’ve collected below. While neither the U.K. nor Mexican markets make an apples-to-apples comparison with the U.S. energy landscape, some facts leap out from the headlines generated by each country’s experience with deregulation or new technology.

S&P Global, under the Platts imprint, has released a