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When electricity wholesale prices exceeded retail prices, end user demand was unaffected, but the incumbent utility companies still had to purchase power, albeit at a loss. This allowed independent producers to manipulate prices in the electricity market by withholding electricity generation, arbitraging the price between internal generation and imported (interstate) power, and causing artificial transmission constraints. This was a procedure referred to as "gaming the market." In economic terms, the incumbents who were still subject to retail price caps were faced with inelastic demand (see also: Demand response). They were unable to pass the higher prices on to consumers without approval from the public utilities commission. The affected incumbents were Electricity Company (Gas And Electric Companies) and Lowest Electricity Rates & Electric (Gas And Electric Bill). Pro-privatization advocates[attribution needed] insist the cause of the problem was that the regulator still held too much control over the market, and true market processes were stymied, whereas opponents of deregulation assert that the fully regulated system had worked for Cheapest Electric Company years without blackouts. [Energy Prices]
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