Drawing the wrong conclusion IX — challenging a governmentally protected monopoly edition

Today offers news of a Tea Party on the move in Georgia, land of CWIP and broken dreams. An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution announces:

Tea party targeting Southern Co. power monopoly

AJC reports (emphasis added):

“It certainly isn’t anything personal, but one of our core values is promoting the free-market system,” said Julianne Thompson, a co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party.

The electricity market in Georgia is not a free market. State law gives electric utilities, including Georgia Power, exclusive rights to serve customers in designated areas of the state. Most customers cannot choose their provider. …

In many states, including Texas and most of the Northeast, power delivery is regulated, but customers can choose who provides their electricity. Customers in those states can choose from companies that provide such options as renewable power or a slate of pricing options, including fixed rates, rates that vary with market fluctuations, or rates that vary based on when during the day power is used.

Promoting the free market in electricity despite a state-instituted utility monopoly, fighting for better prices and, yes, choice in electricity sources for individual consumers (as opposed to the one-size-fits-all-but-pleases-none-but-our-shareholders-guaranteed-a-hefty-return electricity portfolio mandated by North Carolina) — these would be positive developments. What other free-market ideas is the Atlanta Tea Party bringing to the debate?

Earlier this month, Debbie Dooley, another co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party, urged the state’s elected utility regulators on the Public Service Commission, all Republicans, to force Georgia Power to use more solar energy.

A Tea Party? Urging government by Republicans to force a government monopoly to do something? And that something would be forcing ratepayers to buy even more expensive solar energy? Dooley concedes, in AJC’s words, that “if her organization viewed it as politically possible, it would support repealing a law granting monopoly rights to utilities.”

I guess North Carolina isn’t the only state with conservatives who think the solution to the government doing a foolish thing isn’t to try to stop it, but instead to have the government do the foolish thing differently.

Previous entries in “Drawing the Wrong Conclusion”: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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