Professor Charlie Eaton discusses the for-profit and nonprofit approach of energy management in California as fires and power outages spread.
As the lights went out across California this month, residents wondered if we will ever fix PG&E – the nation’s largest for-profit electric utility. Some predictably joked that we should simply unleash the power of that mythical institution, which some economists still refer to as the “free market.” But PG&E’s latest failure illustrates that markets – and how well they work for consumers – always depend on state regulation. For this reason, California must use the crisis to deeply reform its utility regulations.
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