CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS?: An Academic Debate on the Role of Deregulation in the California Energy Drama

February 22, 2001 - 12:00pm
Bldg 90
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The assessment of facts, causes, and policy options for the resolution of California's ”energy crisis” depends on the assumptions, values, and priorities of those doing the analysis. In the interest of revealing both what these assumptions are, and how they affect the formation of ”realistic” policy goals, we present a discussion of the background, current status and future options for energy policy in California. Using the ”Stakeholder” model, the debate takes place between the ”Privatization Stakeholder” who has an interest in private sector ownership of energy sector assets, and the ”Regulation Stakeholder” who has an interest in the public oversight/ownership of these assets. We will illustrate how the evaluation of optimal policy solutions is influenced by stakeholder interest, showing how different policy choices can produce large cost-shifts between stakeholders, and how even the definition of terms (such as ”economic efficiency”) is stakeholder-dependent. Using exactly the same data, the two stakeholders arrive at opposite policy recommendations - the audience is invited to come to their own conclusions regarding the public interest.

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