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Vol. 91, No. 1
Posted 2009-01-01

Disallowances and Overcapitalization in the U.S. Electric Utility Industry

by Stratford Douglas, Thomas A. Garrett, and Russell M. Rhine

Regulation of an industry often produces unintended consequences. Averch and Johnson (1962) argue that certain regulation of electric utilities provides utilities the incentive to purchase an inefficiently large amount of capital. Another possible and related unintended consequence of electric utility regulation is that regulatory cost disallowances on capital may also increase utilities’ incentives to overcapitalize.

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