This study reviews reports of congestion costs and begins to assess their implications for the current national discussion on the importance of the U.S. electricity transmission system for enabling competitive wholesale electricity markets. As a guiding principle,
we posit that a more robust electricity system could reduce congestion costs; and thereby, 1) facilitate more vibrant and fair competition in wholesale electricity markets, and 2)enable consumers to seek out the lowest prices for electricity. Yet, examining the details suggests that, sometimes, there will be trade-offs between these goals. Therefore, it is essential to understand who pays, how much, and how do they benefit in evaluating
options (both transmission and non-transmission alternatives) to address transmission congestion.