No, the Abell Foundation Didn't Find That "Deregulation Didn't Save Payers"
The headlines were eye-grabbing:
- “More Utility Competition Was Supposed to Drive Down Prices, But Many Marylanders Are Paying More for Energy” (Baltimore Sun)
- “Study Finds Deregulation Didn’t Save Payers” (Maryland Reporter)
- “Deregulation Ushered in Higher Energy Rates” (Maryland Reporter)
The Sun article, the Reporter summaries (of news reports appearing elsewhere), and other descriptions of a new policy report would lead readers to conclude that the report shows Maryland’s 1999 electricity market restructuring has saddled consumers with higher electricity bills than they would have received under the state’s old regulations. Problem is, that’s not what the study finds.
The cited study is “Maryland’s Dysfunctional Residential Third-Party Energy Supply Market: An Assessment of Costs and Policies,” written by independent journalist Laurel Peltier and energy policy analyst Arjun Makhijani and published last month by Baltimore’s Abell Foundation. It’s a well-done and important analysis (though I have a few quibbles with it that I’ll discuss below) that should provoke concern and policy changes at the state Public Service Commission and perhaps in the General Assembly. But the report should not prompt policymakers to reverse course on opening up Maryland’s electricity and natural gas markets to supplier competition because—well, because that’s not what the report’s about. Rather, it’s about how one type of restructured energy provision is producing far lower energy rates than another type of provision.
 Scott Dance. “More Utility Competition Was Supposed to Drive Down Prices, but many Marylanders Are Paying More for Energy.” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 7, 2018.
 Maryland Reporter. “State Roundup.” Dec. 19, 2018.
 Maryland Reporter. “State Roundup.” Dec. 7 2018.
 See, e.g., Denise Koch, “Report Finds Third-Party Energy Providers Have Been Costing Marylanders More, Not Less, For Their Gas, Electric,” CBS Baltimore, Dec. 20, 2018.
 Laurel Peltier and Arjun Makhijani. “Maryland’s Dysfunctional Residential Third-Party Energy Supply Market: An Assessment of Costs and Policies.” Abell Foundation, December, 2018.