Center for the Study of Energy Markets
The History of Electricity Restructuring in California
- Author(s): Blumstein, Carl
- Friedman, Lee S.
- Green, Richard
- et al.
This paper aims to provide an objective history of electricity restructuring in California from the mid-1990s to the immediate end of the "California Energy Crisis" in June 2001. We discuss the restructuring debate that led to the restructuring law (AB1890), and describe how the new structure worked after it took effect in April 1998. We discuss the course of events during the crisis, and factors contributing to it, including the supply-demand balance in California and in the West, rising gas prices, the complexity of the market design, market power, and the regulatory decision to cap retail but not wholesale prices.