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In favor of energy regulation

Grocery store owener Asim Calik surveys a freezer full of warm frozen foods and meats in his store on Skillman Avenue July 24, 2006 in the Queens borough of New York City. 'I'll have to throw all this out,' he says. Power has been partially restored to his block but its not enough to run his refrigeration or air conditioning. Parts of the Queens borough still are suffering under a blackout as the power outage enters its second week.

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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: Remember deregulation? It was supposed to make electricity cheaper for consumers and businesses. Well so far just the opposite has happened. At least that's the thinking of consumer groups meeting in Washington. Eric Niiler has the story.


ERIC NIILER: California, Texas and other states that deregulated now pay much more than states that kept electric utilities under government control. They also have shortages and reliability troubles.

That's according to consumer advocate Marilyn Showalter. She's with the group Power in the Public Interest.

MARILYN SHOWALTER: For one thing, in a competitive market you need willing buyers and willing sellers. Well in the case of electricity, you have neither. People have to buy electricity. And same for the sellers. Sellers cannot turn off and on their big plants.

Some states are considering a return to regulation of the power industry. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds its own conference on deregulation today.

In Washington, I'm Eric Niiler for Marketplace.

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