Deregulation was supposed to lower prices for California phone users, but. instead, fees keep going up. [LAT]

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  1. Dereg was also supposed to lower utility prices and keep the lights on. Fat lot of good Dereg did for SF when Enron messed the market. Meanwhile, in LA, where the power was still in city hands, the lights stayed on.

    I hate to argue with the economists, but dereg is a way to take something that works okay and make it more expensive and less reliable. Oh, and generally less profitable for government, resulting in higher taxes or lower service levels. Remind me again, why dereg is a good idea?

  2. ChrisC1234 says:

    And this is a surprise how???

  3. rworne says:

    I really have no problem with the cost of phone service. The stupid recovery fees and taxes are what make such a necessity so expensive.

  4. Net Neutrality opponents always say Deregulation helps consumers… Raising prices doesn’t exactly help.

  5. mac-phisto says:

    wait…you don’t say! deregulation made something MORE expensive? naw! never happened! what? happens all the time?

    (queue free-market yahoos claiming that artificial price points explain why utility pricing has increased & the increase is actually a good thing b/c it allows the market to reach “equilibrium”)

    *sigh…wishes his electric bill wasn’t going up 11% this year, after 20% last year, after 13% the year prior, after 12%…*

  6. FLConsumer says:

    And we all enjoy the serious improvements made to passenger comfort and on-time performance since airline deregulation as well.

  7. mobbo says:

    In all seriousness… has deregulation of ANYTHING ever brought down prices?

  8. KJones says:

    Never trust any company or shill that says “let competition and the market dictate”. Regulation was enacted in these industries for a very good reason.

    If anyone disagrees, ask yourself: Has a company functioning under regulation ever blown up like Enron or MCI? Sure, some go bankrupt, but there has never been massive fraud because it wasn’t possible.

  9. stinerman says:

    @mobbo:
    Yes, in markets that are nominally free. Phone service and Internet access, to name a few, are nowhere close to free markets. Here’s the easy test: if you live in an area covered by Verizon, try to get service through AT&T. Similarly, try to get Time-Warner Cable over Comcast lines. It doesn’t work that way.

  10. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Deregulation is, was, and always will be a crock of shit.

    That link requires registration, btw. Try this one:

    username: latimes013108@trashymail.com
    pw: blabla

  11. crappedcrusader says:

    Really, it worked so well for deregulation of energy. Just look at all that Enron did to help out the good people of California.

  12. whydidnt says:

    @FLConsumer: Of course, before deregulation, the only ones that could afford to fly were business men and the wealthy. If you’d like to go back to the days of on-time performance and comfort, be prepared to pay $700+ for every ticket you buy. Airline deregulation is actually a perfect example of how deregulation is SUPPOSED to work.

    Also, anyone remember paying $.75 – $1.00 minute for long distance calls? That was pre deregulation of the long distance industry, now we are all paying less than $.05 minute for better service.

    Deregulation works when the market is truly free. However, in many of the cases mentioned here the incumbent is allowed to keep their market position since they “own” the connection to the customer (local telephone line, internet service, power line, etc.) In cases like this all deregulation seems to do is remove any controls over the company in a monopoly position.

    Deregulation works and works well in areas where an entrenched monopoly can be removed or eliminated at the same time. However, if that can’t be done in a way that is agreeable to all parties, we are probably better left to the crappy system of regulation we have in place.

  13. forever_knight says:

    @whydidnt: sucka! i pay $.01 cents a minute using voip.

    electricity deregulation has failed time and time again: California and Texas are the biggest examples. guess what? they are also the biggest electricity markets in this country. price go UP.

    remember this: electricity deregulation is a scam

  14. GearheadGeek says:

    As a specific example of how unhelpful to the consumer deregulation is… I moved from city-provider electric market in Texas to a “deregulated” market… my rates for a SMALLER home with the lowest-cost electricity provider of the myriad confusing choices are about 75% higher than they were with City Public Service.

  15. ferris209 says:

    I live in Texas, DEREGULATION SUCKS!!! I used to pay six cents a kilowatt for electricity, now thanks to to dereg, I get to decide if I want to pay fifteen cents or fourteen cents a kilowatt and next year! And maybe next year, if I’m real lucky, I’ll get to choose between eighteen cents and seventeen cents a kilowatt! Oh wonderful is the power to choose! Bah.

  16. Toddgr says:

    These are old services! But unfortunately I’m not surprised that AT&T would raise prices on services that have been around for years – they’ve also done it on DSL. It’s classic monopoly behavior, raise prices on old services simply because you can (and you have the government – FCC – in your pocket).

    AT&T has long history of treating its customers with this type of brazen contempt. If only this FCC, which pretends to be pro-consumer, would actually have the courage to stand up to the company and do something about it.