Some of the issues associated with opening electricity markets are difficult be-cause they are inherently complicated. Others, however, are difficult becausethe stakes are so high. Of these, the most intense issue surrounds the debate about recovery of stranded costs, that is, expenses that utilities believe they will not cover if, because of competition, they cannot sell as much electricity at the same prices as they could under regulation. Early estimates of these expenses ran up to and beyond $135 billion.