Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Fixing the Power Grid through Open Markets and New Technologies

A smart way to handle the issue
The electric power system makes our modern, mobile, information-age economy possible. But it is organized in much the same way it was in 1884, when Thomas Edison created the first system of power plants to light up homes and businesses in lower Manhattan. By way of comparison, the iPhone, which is the spiritual descendant of the telegraph, packs more computing power in a user's pocket than mainframes that once filled entire rooms. Meanwhile, the electric system is still built around central generating plants delivering power to customers via a monopoly provider—the local utility company.
In most segments of the U.S. economy, market competition drives prices lower, delivers innovation faster, and gives consumers more choice. But in the electricity system upon which all our modern devices depend, competition has come slowly and fitfully. We could do better with more of it.

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