Four Alternative Models for Regulating an Investor Owned Utility of the Future

How do you coerce a monopoly to act as if it were operating in a ruthlessly competitive industry? This is the billion-dollar question of Public Utilities Commissions (PUCs). It’s a tricky thing to do with a mixed history of success. And it’s getting trickier, especially here in Hawaiʻi, where renewable energy and so-called “distributed resources” (e.g. rooftop solar, residential batteries, smart appliances, electric vehicles) are changing the nature of the electricity system, managed by our own monopoly, Hawaiian Electric Company. Here, UHERO Fellow Michael Roberts summarizes four ideas for how to change the way we regulate Hawaiian Electric Company, and shares some preliminary thoughts about their strengths and weaknesses.


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