Utility Deregulation Center
Energy and telephone utilities in New York are being deregulated or "restructured," mainly at the initiative of the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). The administrative approach has been to "unbundle" elements of service whenever they can be provided competitively, and eventually to limit the role of monopoly utilities to residual "bottleneck" functions like maintaining the electric grid or the gas distribution system. New providers of the service elements deemed by the PSC to be competitive are encouraged to enter the market and are deregulated or "lightly" regulated by the PSC. Restructuring of the state's retail electric industry was begun by the PSC before the maturation of federally regulated competitive wholesale markets, and without comprehensive legislative action to address the issues of the obligation to serve, universal service, affordable energy prices, low income rates and customer protection.