Simplicity counts; complexity adds up. That’s the lesson from the electric regulation world. In fact, one state utility commissioner told me he hoped one of my columns would urge companies and governments to keep processes simple so they work for consumers.
As a nation, we are going the other way. The results are obvious. Actions supposed to have helped consumers often do the opposite. Some policymakers are on the side of the opposite – complexity and sidestepping their responsibility.
Deregulation. Government leaders in some states deregulated the electric system saying prices will decrease. Over about 10 years in deregulated states power rates, “…increased double the amount they increased in regulated states.” That is from the American Public Power Association.
Passing the buck. States in regional transmission organizations, RTOs, which are supposed to forecast power needs and buy them cheaply, have had a tough record. Ask people in Texas who had high prices and no power in February. Ask people who complained that the RTO in the Mid-Atlantic over-bought power supply and wasted money.
Yet in the Southeast there is no RTO, though that role is filled by the companies doing business in these states. No blackouts in February. Some utilities are even toughening up their systems for storms and setting new records to restore power after hurricanes.
In the states, it is our electric power, and our authority to decide how to manage it. It’s simple – the electric system in the Southeast works.
Feature photo is an NC Electric Cooperative image.