(MISES INSTITUTE) -- Although the roughly two million affected residents of Northern California are recovering from the rolling blackouts imposed by utility PG&E, the company has warned that these “fire safety outages” may be periodically required for another decade. Naturally, California Governor Gavin Newsom decried the debacle as yet another example of “greed and neglect.” Yet as IER analyst Jordan McGillis explained in a previous article, the episode actually showcases the dangers of a government-imposed monopoly in electricity provision. In this article, I’ll elaborate on McGillis’ insights and show why the conventional economic rationale for government regulation of electric utilities is fundamentally flawed.
PG&E’s Rolling Blackouts Not a Free-Market Outcome
When a company screws up so horribly, letting down literally millions of its customers and moreover promising to continue doing so for another decade (!), the obvious question is: Why don’t they go out of business? Why doesn’t a competitor grab their market share?
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