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Deregulated Electricity Markets Need Stronger Consumer Protections

A version of this appears with my post at National Journal’s Energy Insiders blog.

Last week I made this presentation at a symposium organized by the American Public Power Association on how to reform deregulated power markets. These markets have been plagued by numerous manipulation schemes by Wall Street banks that have cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars in higher utility bills. My presentation outlines how the non-profit organizations that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has tasked with operating these markets have the deck stacked against households. My research shows that household consumers and environmental groups hold only 3% of the voting power to make decisions about how to run the market. Meanwhile, Wall Street banks and other financial firms control 275% more votes than households. That’s why Public Citizen has called for the creation of an office of consumer advocate at FERC and to restructure the market to give consumers control over at least half of the voting shares needed to make decisions on how they should be run.

Tyson Slocum is Director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. Follow him on Twitter @TysonSlocum