Restructuring The Electrical Utility Industry - Dispute Resolution Journal - Vol. 53, No. 4
Stanley W. Hulett
The author, a consultant on energy, telecommunications, and natural resource issues, is a vice president of New Energy Ventures, Inc., in Los Angeles and co-chairs the American Arbitration Association’s national energy panel. He is a former president of the California Public Utilities Committee.
America’s $250 billion electricity industry is undergoing massive changes. A monopoly for over a century, it is now moving swiftly toward unbridled competition. Several states have already totally deregulated the generation function, such as California and its $25 billion electricity market, or partially opened up significant portions of the electricity business, such as Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Arizona. By the turn of the century, more than two-thirds of the nation’s electricity markets will be opened to competition.
Clearly, this nation is embarked on a complicated and potentially divisive course of action. Unlike telecommunications, electricity has a multiplicity of functions required to continue to deliver the product to the market in a timely, efficient, and reliable manner. This commodity touches every aspect of our economy and, therefore, an efficient and orderly transition is required if the economy is to be maintained on a stable and vigorous basis. Those who are involved in this restructuring have a responsibility to the nation as a whole to protect this process from total chaos.