Jim Rossi

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Vanderbilt Law Review

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utility regulation, physical access, economic regulation, telecommunications, energy


Law | Oil, Gas, and Mineral Law | Public Law and Legal Theory


This article addresses the implications of retail competition in public utility industries, particularly electricity, for utility service obligations. After tracing the history of the common law duty to serve applicable to public utilities, the efficiency of utility service obligations in the context of rate regulation is explored. Retail competition, many suggest, poses a threat to utility service obligations. However, regulators can minimize the inefficiency of traditional utility service obligations without sacrificing the benefits of retail competition if they pay attention to the structural efficiency of competitive retail markets. The article advocates imposition of basic service obligations on the DisCo and voluntary procurement of power supply financed through a systems benefits charge in the context of PoolCo retail competition model. In addition, the implications of competition in distribution markets on service obligation financing are explored.



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