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State Utilities Commission Wants Electricity Market Deregulated

California energy officials want to deregulate a part of the state's electricity market. The Public Utilities Commission wants to reintroduce a program that gives customers more choice in buying elect

State Utilities Commission Wants Electricity Market Deregulated

California energy officials want to deregulate a part of the state's electricity market. The Public Utilities Commission wants to reintroduce a program that gives customers more choice in buying electricity. KPBS reporter Ed Joyce explains.

The PUC voted to see whether it can resurrect the direct access program. The program allows electricity customers to buy service from providers other than their regular utilities. A coalition of industry and consumer groups say competition from independent energy companies would put pressure on private utility companies to keep rates low and improve service.

But Mindy Spatt with The Utility Reform Network says deregulation will only benefit energy companies.

Spatt : It's a fantasy. It's a complete fantasy. The reality is that every single state that has deregulated has seen their rates go up.

A PUC report says it will take at least 18 months or more to decide whether direct access can be reinstated. Ed Joyce, KPBS News.