October 01, 2017

One Hundred Years of State Utility Regulation

By Charles C. Read, Joseph Seliga, Mitch Holzrichter, and Noelle J. Coates

It would be a herculean effort to study the past 100 years of utility regulation in each of our now fifty states. Instead, the State Regulatory Committee has settled for a much more modest essay on the history of the commissions in three states: California, Illinois, and Virginia. These were not randomly selected; they happen to be the jurisdictions and commissions where three of our committee co- and vice-chairs maintain active public utility practices. Yet a look at the history of just these three commissions is sufficient to identify some recurring patterns in state regulation.

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