Paul L. Joskow, August 2005
The transition to competitive wholesale and retail markets for electricity in the U.S. has been a difficult and contentious process. This paper examines the progress that has been made in the evolution of wholesale and retail electricity market institutions. Various indicia of the performance of these market institutions are presented and discussed. Significant progress has been made on the wholesale competition front but major challenges must still be confronted. The framework for supporting retail competition has been less successful, especially for small customers. Empirical evidence suggests that well-designed competitive market reforms have led to performance improvements in a number of dimensions and have benefited customers through lower retail prices.