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This study began a few months after the issue of FERC Order 888 (April 1996), which mandated open access of transmission systems. The great uncertainty surrounding the "opening up" of the power market to retail access at that time caused many to view this exercise of "predicting" the timing of deregulation with great skepticism. The lack of experts and information combined with reluctance of experts to participate in the assessment on a regular basis made the task of arriving at probabilistic estimates almost unthinkable. However, the pilot studies conducted with various participants showed that a more qualitative assessment was possible, as individuals were often uncomfortable with giving numbers about numbers, i.e. probabilities about timing of access. The dialogue with various individuals involved in deregulation not only communicated the need for such a regular monitoring activity but also bought in their commitment to implement and sustain it.
Two years since the presentation of this paper, the author is now witnessing similar patterns in Europe in 1999. The question is: will energy deregulation also be staged, like in the US? If so, which are the critical issues that need to be resolved for progress? Who are the stakeholders? Can we apply the same methods discussed here for Europe, viewing countries as states?