California Electricity Crisis Provides Valuable Lessons for Energy Deregulation

February 21, 2001

Washington, D.C. - What lessons can be drawn from the California electricity deregulation debacle and the energy crisis in the West? Willis Emmons, associate professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business, believes that the California crisis demonstrates the risks of assuming a best or even average case scenario when designing and implementing deregulation policy reforms.

"California's experience in electricity should serve as a 'wake-up call' to anyone who believes that deregulation in other industries involving critical services-for example, telecommunications, transportation, financial services, health care, education and postal services-will automatically produce significant economic gains and broad public acceptance," notes Emmons.

Emmons is author of The Evolving Bargain: Strategic Implications of Deregulation and Privatization. This book examines the impact of deregulation on managers' strategic agendas in industries around the world, including the utility industry in the U.S. and abroad. A member of the Harvard Business School faculty for over a decade, Emmons also consults to a wide range of private and public sector organizations. Emmons is available to discuss his insights on the California energy crisis and its impact on other states' utility deregulation plans: Willis Emmons, Ph.D. 202.687.8408 or 617. 536.7651.