failed to provide enoughaffordable power to the state’s utilities to meet the demands of customers.
The reason for this is strongly disputed. One thing is certain, unscheduled
outages at power plants supplying California’s electricity has highly
increased since deregulation. Owners of the plants now face allegations
that they intentionally engineered shutdowns in order to squeeze the supply
and drive up wholesale prices. State regulation of utilities has been in
place since the early 20th century to protect consumers from the capital-
intensive monopolies that owned power plants and transmission lines. Under
the old system, still in effect in most states, regulation means guaranteed
profits for utilities but also stable prices for consumers and a reliable
supply of electricity. In exchange for allowing utilities to operate as
monopolies, states set the price they can charge consumers. Beginning in
the early 1990s, large industrial users of electricity began clamoring for
deregulation so they could shop for cheaper prices outside their own
utility’s coverage area.