I had a young man representing the "Citizens Action Coalition" stop at the door today. Normally, the name "Citizens" in the name is enough for me to shut the door, as it tends to stand for little else than "we want to use the power of government to squish someone".
In fact, that's still the case here, but I was in the mood to listen. His organization wants to sue Duke Energy, in order to stop coal-burning electricity generation. I get the environmental impact, but I also want electricity on demand, and I want it pretty cheap. So, I'm not so sure I'm entirely on board. He was very down on deregulation, and when thinking "electricity deregulation" I think of California and Enron- which wasn't deregulation at all. It was re-regulation. And it was a miserable disaster. Deregulation got the bad name, even though the problems were rooted in regulated stasis in the face of a dynamic spot energy market.
He gave me some literature, and I found the first paragraph very interesting:
"Indiana's major utility companies (Duke, AEP, IPL, Vectren, NIPSCO) provide retail electric service essential to the health and vitality of Indiana, its economy, and its citizens. They have been granted state franchised monopolies that protect them from competition and guarantee them profit in exchange for providing adequate and reliable electricity service at the lowers reasonable cost to the public."
I think the whole problem is the state franchised monopoly. There's no competition to spur competitive pricing or innovation, so it doesn't happen unless a mandate comes down, or a lawsuit kicks a butt or two. So, why not let's do away with the state franchised monopoly? Let an outfit string up competing cables, bringing electricity generated by windmills or solar panels. The state shouldn't be interfering with that.
Heck- I'd have even written the guy a check if CAC was fighting the right fight- against the monopolies.