Earlier this month Sean Casten published an op-ed on Grist.com arguing that “further deregulation of electricity markets is a good and necessary thing”, but that “full and total deregulation of electricity markets is probably impossible, and certainly amoral.”

Casten argues that “parts of the electric system warrant full deregulation, while other parts would be better suited to fully regulated economic models.” Certain aspects of electricity markets, for example the “last mile” of transmission, impose natural barriers to new market entrants in a truly free market, he says, thereby undermining the market’s efficiency. Further, Casten argues, in truly free electric markets, dictated purely by supply and demand, prices would inevitably force those who cannot afford electricity out of the market, posing moral challenges.