This morning a consultant hired by Governor Malloy issued his report regarding the performance of CL&P during the winter storm that paralyzed the State of Connecticut.
As I watched the report, I could not help think that we are just nibbling around the edges of the real problem.
The real problem is that we do not have a system for the delivery of electricity that was envisioned in the deregulation bill that was passed by our legislature in the late 1990′s.
As residents we were told that the deregulation bill would create competition in the market place and spur innovation and efficiency in the delivery of electricity to our homes and businesses.
We were also told by policy makers that competition would provide for us a level playing field that will lower electric prices for consumers.
As one example, here is what then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said at the time of the deregulation bill in 1998 (to be fair, most state politicians on both sides of the aisle were saying the same thing).
Unfortunately, none of the happened. The deregulation bill did not give us choice, to the contrary, it allowed two entities CL&P and UI, to have private monopolies over a public service.
We pay some of the highest electric rates in the country.
Profits and profit taking were placed over basic maintenance of things like tree clearing, maintenance workers, and infrastructure improvements.
There is no choice in the delivery electricity to our homes and businesses, most of us have CL&P a few of us have IU, none of us can switch companies after the latest debacle.
Competition in the market place does lower costs for consumers and demands companies deliver exceptional customer service.
Right now, we have the worst of both worlds:
A highly regulated monopoly that is privately owned.
The Legislature should reopen the deregulation bill to create a true open system, encourage competition in the market place so consumers have choices of suppliers. Similar to they way in many parts of the state you can chose ATT-Uverse, Cable, Dish, and soon Fios for the delivery of your TV signal. That system has allowed consumers to leverage pricing and service for the best of both.
Or the Legislature can restore the delivery of electricity to the way it was in the past. A highly regulated public utility managed by the State of Connecticut.
Both options have their pro’s and con’s. But the current system is indefensible to the residents of Connecticut.
So let’s open up the deregulation bill, and let’s get it right…