Will competition threaten reliability?
No. In fact, a range of industry experts have testified before Congress that competition can actually enhance service reliability. For starters, suppliers understand that in a competitive environment they will not get paid if they do not provide electricity. Customers with competitive options will simply buy electricity elsewhere and will certainly factor reliability into future purchasing decisions. Willing participants in a competitive market—many of them EPSA members—recognize this and are prepared to deliver electricity at or above current levels of reliability. Competition can improve reliability in another important sense. In most competitive scenarios, independent entities would take responsibility in the future for insuring reliability. Such a structure would remove any incentive for utilities to cross-subsidize their efforts to sell electricity by spending less on maintenance like tree trimming—a move that could jeopardize reliability. Finally, it is instructive to remember that the same "competition will threaten reliability" arguments were made when wholesale competition was being debated. Such reliability problems have simply not materialized. An Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) study found no evidence to suggest that competitive power suppliers were less reliable than traditional utility power plants, and other studies show competitive suppliers available to generate power over 95 percent of the time.