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September 1999, Vol. 122, No. 9
Employment and other trends in the electric services industryDavid McDermott
In the last decade of the 20th century, deregulation has come to the electric utilities industry. Deregulation allows utilities companies to compete for retail customers, a process affecting both employment and prices in the industry. Also, because the industry has developed distinct regional differences in electric power generating technology and in pricing, the impact of deregulation may vary considerably by region as well.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992 began to open the electricity market to competition by making it easier for power generated by one company to be transmitted across power lines belonging to other companies. Then in 1996, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued Executive Order 888, which required electric utilities companies to open their interstate transmission lines to competitors, paving the way for competition among the companies for customers.1 The exact nature of the competition may vary by State and region, but the general framework allows competition among businesses generating electricity while preserving local monopolies in the distribution of electricity. This framework allows customers to choose the company producing their electricity without creating the inefficiencies associated with running multiple sets of transmission lines to every neighborhood or building.
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1999 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Elizabeth Moler, "Fedís New Regulatory Role in Emerging Power Markets," Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, summer 1997.
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