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Oil, Natural Gas, and Deregulation

The Enron Corp. led the charge to overturn a century of regulated electricity markets in the 1990s by promising lawmakers at the state and federal levels that "competition" resulting from deregulation would lead to lower prices. Public Citizen strongly challenged such claims, and played a key role in getting Proposition 9 on the California ballot in 1998 to stop that state's deregulation law before it could be implemented. But our efforts were no match for Enron's money that was used to buy ads and pay off politicians at all levels of government. But just as Enron's business model was full of inaccuracies, none of deregulation's promises have come true.

Public Citizen advocates a return to better regulated utilities by returning power plants to distributional utilities where states can better protect consumers. And with the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act in President Bush's August 2005 energy bill, electricity companies will be able to more easily merge, undermining the ability of states to effectively regulate these increasingly sprawling companies.

On petroleum markets, Public Citizen testifies before Congress on how record oil company profits are partly due to anti-competitive practices in the industry, and that a windfall profits tax is one equitable method to direct more money to help finance a transition away from a fossil-fuel based economy and towards a sustainable, clean energy future. In addition, Public Citizen advocates the strengthening of energy trading markets in New York where the prices of oil and natural gas are set.

 

Hot Issues

» NEW! Tyson Slocum's Feb 2009 US House Testimony on Restoring Transparency

» Boutique Fuels: Cleaner Burning Fuels Are Not Responsible For High Gas Prices

» Public Citizen Leads Lawsuit Challenging FERC’s Illegal Deregulation of Electricity Rates

» Public Citizen Files Lawsuit Against FERC Over Approval of the Exelon-PSEG Merger

» Read Public Citizen's February 2006 US Senate Testimony on Oil Company Profits

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