Deregulation or greens to blame for utility shut-offs?

February 27, 2009

The Washington Post reported today that,

Utilities across the Washington region have sent out millions of notices to customers who have fallen behind on their gas and electric bills in the past year and are increasingly shutting off service as residents find that they cannot pay rising heating costs.

In addition to billing cycle issues, the Post attributed customer payment difficulties on deregulation:

Higher wholesale energy prices continue to push up electricity and natural gas costs, a result of deregulated markets in the District and Maryland. A typical monthly Pepco bill for District customers is $103.67 today, compared with $58.16 in 2004.

The fuller story is that Maryland had capped electricity rates until a few years ago when the caps expired and market forces — like supply pressures — pushed prices up.

Who’s against increasing supply? A year ago, the Post reported that it was the greens.

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