A Consumers' Union study of deregulation in six industries released last week, however, concludes it is too early to tell whether or not electricity deregulation has helped lower the bills of ordinary citizens. To this point, the study claims, the most meaningful rate drops in deregulated states, of about 20 percent, were simply dictated by the deregulation guidelines of those states.
Goldberg, for one, thinks deregulation could work if accompanied by strict enforcement, prices based on the costs of the energy companies, and measures to ensure a reserve supply of power. With those measures in place, he claims, states would then be able to see if energy trading really could help customers.
"Deregulation does not mean no oversight," says Goldberg. "It means regulation that allows for competition and competitors to thrive in a fair market."