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The production and distribution of electricity

The electric power industry covers the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric power to the general public and industry. The commercial distribution of electric power started in 1882 when electricity was produced for electric lighting. In the 1880s and 1890s, growing economic and safety concerns lead to the regulation of the industry. Once an expensive novelty limited to the most densely populated areas, reliable and economical electric power has become an essential aspect for normal operation of all elements of developed economies.


Block Attacks Rockwell for 'Extremism', by Walter Block, 28 Jul 2006
A tongue-in-cheek commentary by Block on Rockwell's "The Real Cause of Blackouts" (27 July 2006) about California and New York blackouts and his demand for privatizing utilities
The latest example of this extremist nonsense ... is a horrendous little piece in which he has the temerity to call for the complete privatization of, would you believe it, electrical utilities ... The blackouts that have lately been bedeviling consumers in New York and California do demonstrate that all is not well with our present system of delivering electrical power ... Let those people suffering from brownouts and blackouts live in "90-degree houses and sleep in puddles of sweat." ... High on this list is maintaining our present socialist system of electronic power distribution ...
California LP targets utility taxes with "Operation Energy Tax Revolt", Libertarian Party News, Jan 2002
Over the past year, the state legislature has sent energy prices soaring by piling regulations on energy companies in the wake of California's electricity crisis ... 'We don't believe local governments should benefit monetarily because of state government regulations that drive up prices for consumers,' said Starr ...
Related Topic: California
California's Energy Meltdown, by George Reisman, The Free Market, Mar 2001
Examines the causes underlying the problems of California's electric power system, countering those who claim they were due to deregulation and the free market
Destructionist government policy has increasingly restricted the supply of electric power ... throughout the United States. For the last twenty years or more, there have been no new atomic power plants constructed and few or no new coal, oil, or hydroelectric power plants built. ... Moreover, the government-caused dependence on natural gas as the source of fuel for power plants has contributed to the sharp rise in the price of natural gas to record levels. ... Over the same period that the government has restricted the supply ..., there has been a substantial increase in the demand for electric power.
Central Planning of Electricity Must Fail, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Aug 2003
Explains why deregulation was definitely not responsible for the widespread power outage in Aug 2003 in the northeast and midwest United States, also examining deregulation effects in California
The free market has not been allowed to operate in the generation, transmission, and retailing of electrical power ... As the Cato Institute's Jerry Taylor and Peter VanDoren wrote ... "While regulations pertaining to the generation and retail sale of electricity were loosened somewhat, regulations pertaining to the transmission grid increased — not decreased — as part of the reform exercise." ... the anti-economists have had their way in the electric-power industry for many years. It's the same industry they now claim is inadequate for 21st-century America. But what do they blame? The free market, of course.
The Futility of State-Directed "Market Reform": Deregulation, by Kevin Carson, 6 Aug 2013
Analyzes how so-called "deregulation" actually works, with examples from electrical utilities
Consider ... electrical power "deregulation" in Texas ten years ago. After [it], the actual power plants continued to be owned by the same handful of incumbent utilities that owned them before. [These] were divided up into the firms which owned the power plants, those which owned the transmission lines and poles and did the meter reading, and the billing companies. The same monopoly structure continued ... in the generation and transmission of power. The main competition was between the billing companies, which at least provided rate-payers with a diverting change in letterhead if nothing else.
Related Topics: Deregulation, Socialism, The State
The Iranian Threat That Never Was, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Mar 2014
Introductory review of Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (2014), covering the period from the 1950's to the 1979 revolution and early interference from the Reagan administration
During his reign, the shah ... started building a nuclear-power industry — with America's blessing. Iran's Bushehr reactor was 80 percent complete ... When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became Iran's supreme leader in 1979, he cancelled completion of the reactor and stopped related projects. But "two years later, the government reversed the decision to strip the [Atomic Energy Organization of Iran] of its budget and staff, largely because the severe electricity shortages that marked the first two years of the revolutionary era persuaded policymakers that there might be a role for nuclear power reactors after all," Porter writes.
Related Topics: Iran, Ronald Reagan
Orchestrating Energy Disaster, by Walter E. Williams, 23 May 2001
Discusses the problems in California's electric power industry, deriding comments by Paul Krugman and columnist Robert Scheer that the problems were due to "deregulation", and emphasizing the benefits of federalism
Bankrupting California electric utility companies could have been figured out by a 4-year-old. First, in the name of deregulation, incentives were created for utility companies to stop generating their own power. California utilities companies were producing 72 percent of their power, now it's 20 percent. The state mandated that Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) in the North and Southern California Edison in the South charge electricity customers 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour, which the utility companies had to purchase on 'spot' markets for as much as 75 cents per kilowatt hour.
The Right Way to Fix The Grid, by Jerry Taylor, Peter Van Doren, New York Post, 19 Aug 2003


The Experimental Economist: Nobel laureate Vernon Smith takes markets places they've never been before, by Vernon L. Smith, Nick Gillespie, Michael W. Lynch, Reason, 9 Oct 2002
Interview before the Nobel Prize announcement; topics discussed include law (discovered vs. formally made), experimental economics, electric power, demand-interrupt pricing, airport landing and takeoff slots, NASA missions, libertarianism and economics
Smith: ... Let's say you're creating a market for wholesale electricity. You have buyers and sellers ... in an electric power network. People put in location-specific asking prices ...; they've got to be location-specific because power grids leak, and depending on where you are ... your costs will be different ... A computer essentially takes all the asks, all the bids, and all the location costs and it maximizes the gains from trade ... We did experiments for this sort of system in Australia in 1993 and again in '96 ... Australia ended up deregulating its electric power industry ...

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Electric power industry" as of 11 Oct 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.