In South Carolina – as in most other states – regulation has almost completely divorced the energy sector from the free market. Private energy providers must register with the state as public utilities.
Once registered, the state helps enforce a monopoly territory where only one utility may provide power. Regulators determine the prices energy providers can charge. All of this regulation, we’re told, is in the best interest of all parties: It keeps prices down and prevents rapacious monopolies.
Only it doesn’t.