A fundamental incongruity has emerged between continually rising costs and what energy consumers have learned to expect as minimum energy needs. Public policy is beginning to recognize this incongruity. Policymakers are no longer focussing only on controlling utility costs, but have recently begun to question what levels of energy consumption constitute "minimum" energy needs, and whether non-traditional utility service options may be used to meet those needs. Public policy faces an uphill battle. The expectations of consumers are deeply rooted and are a logical outcome of the early economics of the industry. Finding equitable and efficient solutions to the inherent conflict between costs and needs is the challenge of public policy today, and will be throughout the 1980s.
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