Before it can be decided whether and how to bring competition to the elec-tricity industry, it is important first to gain some understanding of howelectricity is produced and how it gets from power plants to the outlets in the wall. The cost and environmental consequences of producing electricity essentially depend on the mix of technologies and fuels used to generate it. Making sure that electricity is available when households and businesses need it requires a complex web of services that complicates the process of deregulation.