“There is no right more fundamental than the right to buy and sell the most basic staples of life in a free market – the sovereignty of the consumer. Electricity is certainly among these staples. From this fundamental right and all of its natural implications come the economic arrangements – the competitive markets – that make a free society governed on republican principles possible. A century ago, this fundamental right was curtailed, and state-sanctioned monopoly came to replace it in the generation and supply of electricity.”

Principles

The Energy Choice Coalition exists to stand up for free-market principles against a legacy monopoly system that has outlived its usefulness. Our objective is to separate the generation and transmission of electricity in states where utilities still retain monopoly control over both services to allow true competition to flourish.

We believe that well-designed competitive markets deliver better results than either monopolies or partly restructured markets. The same free-market solutions that have allowed this nation to flourish are just as applicable to electricity as they are to other sectors of the economy. Competitive markets are more efficient, provide better service, and encourage private investment that drives innovation in a greater diversity of products that consumers want, including better environmental performance. A free-market vision for electricity starts with principles that recognize the limitations of monopolies and the current regulatory system while embracing freedom and individual rights.

  • Electricity must be affordable.

    • Higher electricity prices hurt low-income individuals the most because a greater share of their incomes go to utility costs compared to individuals with higher incomes.

    • Encouraging true competition within the electricity sector will do the most to provide consumers with reliable power at the most reasonable cost.

  • Government intervention in the free market stifles innovation and increases consumer costs.

    • Consumer access to competitive retail and wholesale markets should not be unreasonably restricted by a state or a local distribution utility.

    • State-based rules that erect barriers between consumers and producers in interstate electricity markets represent unconstitutional restraints on interstate commerce.

    • Intrastate rules and rates governing the transmission of electricity to the consumer should be as neutral as possible to encourage the growth of competition and innovation.

    • Where regulation is needed, it should be decentralized and performance-based to allow the greatest possible flexibility for innovation within the market.

  • Decisions should be made at the most local level possible.

    • The availability of energy resources vary by region. What works in one state may not work in another. Electricity policy should be technology neutral and not discriminate against particular generation fuels and facilities.

      • Consumers and the market should decide what resources are used to produce electricity in any given location. Environmental and other social policy goals should not influence the design of competitive electricity markets.

  • Government should not intervene in the market to help ensure utilities are profitable. Taxpayer-funded bailouts of uncompetitive resources and assets, including those disguised as fuel security or resiliency initiatives, result in consumers paying twice.


“Viewed as a means to the end of political freedom, economic arrangements are important because of their effect on the concentration or dispersion of power. The kind of economic organization that provides economic freedom directly, namely, competitive capitalism, also promotes political freedom because it separates economic power from political power and in this way enables the one to offset the other.”
— Milton Friedman, “Capitalism and Freedom: Fortieth Anniversary Edition”

Acknowledgements

The guiding principles and policy ideas of the Energy Choice Coalition owe much to the thought leadership of our advisory board members and to the writings of Lynne Kiesling, Travis Kavulla, and Devin Hartman among others. We have collected links to the best of those writings in our Resource Library.