Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, & Professor, UCLA Institute of Environment & Sustainability

William Boyd

Interviewer: David Spence, Interview date:  April 18, 2019
Key Terms: Public UtilityRates, Restructuring,
Market-based Pricing

'Public' Utility: Steering Markets Toward Public Ends

by William Boyd

“Markets are inherently political .. [W]e have made a mistake in assuming that these [energy] markets can be insulated from politics. We need to recognize that markets and competition are tools to advance the public interest.”

“We make a mistake if we operate at a level of abstraction that just thinks about markets and prices and competition and don’t really understand the mechanics of how things work in practice.  FERC has an obligation to do more to understand this.”

“I don’t think one can say that the cost-of-service model is always inferior to competitive markets when it comes to promoting renewable energy. … The models themselves don’t favor one set of resources over the other.  It depends on how we use those models”

“We’re going to have to make hard choices … between reliability, affordability and environment. … We need to recognize that there is real pain in some of these transitions for some communities and certain sectors.”


William Boyd is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Professor at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is the founding Director of the Laboratory for Energy & Environmental Policy innovation (LEEP) and the project lead for the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF).  His primary research and teaching interests are in energy law and regulation, climate change law and policy, and environmental law.  Boyd received his B.A. from University of North Carolina, his M.A. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

To learn more about William Boyd, please visit his home page: HERE