It’s easy to be blasé about electric power: Flip a switch and the lights come on. Plug in your phone and it recharges. Maybe you have a vague sense that behind the plug is a vast infrastructure of lines and junction boxes, all leading back to far-away power plants that generate electricity. But new technologies and growing interest in ‘green’ energy sources are prompting policymakers to rethink public utility regulation – and suddenly, what happens behind that plug could get a whole lot more interesting.
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The FTC’s status as an independent agency, secured in an early constitutional challenge to the FTC Act, was tested during the early years of the Cold War when the agency’s international work provoked a national security debate at the highest levels.
This will come as no shock to anyone familiar with the Federal Trade Commission’s policy and advocacy function: FTC staff has a long history of advocating for effective competition and consumer protection in electricity markets.