The structure of state utility commissions and protection of the captive ratepayer: Is there a connection? Occasional paper {number_sign}23

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While there is a considerable body of literature on regulatory decision making, the dominant theories have emphasized the influence of external factors on commissioners, which largely result in capture. Underlying these theories is the assumption that resources translate into influence. The theory proposed in this research is that while resources are necessary in order to influence commission decisions, they are not sufficient. Instead, their effects are mediated by two conditions: one, the structural characteristics of each state commission, which enable it to acquire and analyze information and two, the attributes of the type of consumer safeguards, e.g. a rate freeze ... continued below

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187 p.

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Zearfoss, N.N. June 1, 1998.

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Description

While there is a considerable body of literature on regulatory decision making, the dominant theories have emphasized the influence of external factors on commissioners, which largely result in capture. Underlying these theories is the assumption that resources translate into influence. The theory proposed in this research is that while resources are necessary in order to influence commission decisions, they are not sufficient. Instead, their effects are mediated by two conditions: one, the structural characteristics of each state commission, which enable it to acquire and analyze information and two, the attributes of the type of consumer safeguards, e.g. a rate freeze or quality-of-service standards with attached financial penalties, which commissions could have adopted. The guiding research hypothesis is that the greater the ability of the commission to acquire and analyze information, the more likely it is to enact more stringent measures to protect the captive ratepayer. The major implications of this research are two. (1) This research suggests that commissions react not just to political pressure and economic incentives, but also to information. Indeed, this research asserts that information is a significant determinant in the decision making process. (2) Where the general public has neither the knowledge nor the understanding to take a position with regard to an issue, a regulatory commission with greater resources and more professional personnel is more likely to be its champion than is a commission with fewer resources and less professional personnel.

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187 p.

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OSTI as DE99000879

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  • Other Information: PBD: Jun 1998

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  • Other: DE99000879
  • Report No.: NRRI--98-14
  • DOI: 10.2172/291020 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 291020
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc677676

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  • June 1, 1998

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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Zearfoss, N.N. The structure of state utility commissions and protection of the captive ratepayer: Is there a connection? Occasional paper {number_sign}23, report, June 1, 1998; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc677676/: accessed June 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.