ABSTRACT

Although the United States is a leader in efforts to introduce competition intoseveral formerly regulated industries-including telecommunications,banking, and transportation, particularly at the federal level-it has not been an early mover in opening retail electricity markets to competition. Numerous other countries, including Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada (Alberta), Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, and the United Kingdom, have initiated restructuring toward more open markets, sometimes including customer choice of electricity suppliers. In the United States, all of the activity has been at the state level. As of September 2001, 23 states had enacted comprehensive legislation to set retail electricity competition in motion, and one additional state plus the District of Columbia had issued comprehensive regulatory orders toward the same end. Although, in light of its recent electricity market crisis, California has ended retail competition and a few other states are in the process of reconsidering it, most of the other states that have decided to adopt competition are sticking by that decision, at least for the time being.