The Common Law 'Duty to Serve' the Protection of Consumers in an Age of Competitive Retail Public Utility Restructuring
FSU College of Law Working Paper No. 98-1
92 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 1998
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.
Keywords: Utility regulation, physical access, economic regulation, telecommunications, energy
JEL Classification: L94, L95
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation