What’s Wrong With Government Regulated Monopolies?


Bigger Pie Forum | What’s Wrong With Government Regulated Monopolies? | Kelley Williams
Nothing if you are one.  Like Entergy Mississippi and Mississippi Power.  Regulated monopolies are largely protected from competition and are great for their shareholders.  Not so great for their customers though.  Especially if the regulator (the Public Service Commission) has its thumb on the scale for the monopoly.
And if the utilities’ army of lobbyists out-mans or out-womans and out-spends and out- entertains and consequently out-influences the Legislature, which makes the rules for its regulator to favor utilities.  It’s a slam dunk for utilities in the Legislature since most of their customers don’t have lobbyists.  Or anyone else to speak just for them.
So the Legislature makes a rule telling the PSC to put its thumb on the scale for the monopolies.  And the monopolies’ advertising and public relations campaigns make customers think their electric rates are a bargain.  And that solar plants and other green energy experiments will generate electricity cheaper than plants running on natural gas.  And that billions spent to build and maintain Entergy’s old Grand Gulf nuclear plant (which runs occasionally) are a good deal for customers.  And so on.
We have written before about how regulated monopolies and their political allies deceive customers.  You may remember Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Lignite Plant.  It was a scheme to charge customers for an expensive green energy experiment to turn low grade coal (lignite) into synthetic natural gas to generate electricity.  Its hopelessly complicated Rube Goldberg gasifier failed as predicted.  So Mississippi Power and its Southern Company parent wrote off over $6 billion they planned to mark up and pass on to customers.
Many politicians and two of the three PSC Commissioners backed the expensive Kemper experiment.  So did the Public Utilities Staff (PUS) — a state agency created after

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