Summary and Info
Deregulating electricity prices and privatising publicly owned power system assets has been an economic disaster in North America and elsewhere. Instead of the promised abundance of lower-priced power, states and provinces that have embraced deregulation and privatisation are now experiencing astonishing price spikes and unexpected shortages. Taking us from the very beginnings of the electricity industry in the 1880s right up to the present day, Howard Hampton vividly recounts the dramatic political struggles between public and private power in both Canada and the United States, a moving story that links Ontario's Sir Adam Beck, founder of North America's largest public power system, with Franklin D Roosevelt, who established the still-public New York Power Authority and Tennessee Valley Authority, and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, who sacrificed his political career rather than sell his city's municipally owned electric utility. Hampton goes on to lucidly dissect the flawed logic behind electricity deregulation and privatisation and chronicles, in devastating detail, the total failure of utility 'reform' experiments in California, Ontario, Alberta, Montana, Pennsylvania, and even Great Britain, where modern day notions of privatisation and deregulation were first introduced. Hampton concludes this illuminating history with his own vision of a 21st century public power system that gradually reduces our dependence on coal and nuclear power and encourages environmentally benign generation.