Legislators, regulators, and consumer groups are exploring various changes to energy markets in different states. Here’s a rundown of activity by state:
A political committee seeking to introduce competition in Florida electricity market has secured enough signatures on a petition to hold a statewide vote on the issue, likely in 2020. The proposal is modeled after the Texas electricity market, which deregulated in 2001, and is backed in part by renewable energy proponents. The issue was debated in the state legislature last year, which ultimately decided not to pursue it after strong opposition from both the business community and the electric utilities.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal along with the state consumer counsel and AARP are calling for the end of residential electricity choice in Connecticut. This is in response to a study indicating that residential customers purchasing competitive supply paid $200 million more than residential customers on utility service. They also cited aggressive/deceptive marketing practices from competitive suppliers and a desire to further renewable energy goals via utility engagement rather than competitive suppliers as reasons for the push. Legislation has so far not been introduced to enact this.
Legislators in South Carolina introduced companion energy reform bills in the state House and Senate in January. The bills aim to level the playing field for new solar development both behind the meter and by independent power producers, while also seeking to lower utility costs by forcing competitive bids for new rate base generation. The bill is somewhat in response to rising costs and the recent cancellation of the costly V.C. Summer nuclear project. So far, full retail competition is not part of the proposed changes.
The Arizona Corporation Commission has reintroduced the possibility of retail electricity competition in the state. The topic is part of an effort to evaluate the entire electric industry structure in light of the many changes coming in the industry including increasing renewable generation, declining coal generation, and more customers installing onsite solar and other types of generation. The Commission has tentatively scheduled a workshop for July to discuss retail competition. Action on this is not expected quickly.