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State lawmakers expected the price of electricity to decrease due to the resulting competition; hence they capped the price of electricity at the pre-deregulation level. Since they also saw it as imperative that the supply of electricity remain uninterrupted, utility companies were required by law to buy electricity from spot markets at uncapped prices when faced with imminent power shortages. [Energy Prices]
But this change is now occurring “without a coherent plan to deal with all the associated challenges that competition poses, ranging from renewable procurement rules to reliability requirements and consumer protection,” the paper noted. That means California must “now look at long held assumptions in their regulatory frameworks and examine the role of the electric utility at the center of this system.”
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