Sharon Beder, Power Play
New York
The New Press, 2003
ISBN 156584808X

Page 1

ELECTRICITY RATIONING IN BRAZIL ... Blackouts from California and New York to South Australia and Buenos Aires ... Mass protests in India, Africa, and across Latin America. Enron, the seventh-largest company in America, goes bankrupt ... And in Auckland, New Zealand, the central business district goes without power for weeks. Welcome to the brave new world of electricity deregulation and privatisation.

Dozens of governments have embarked on the pathway to electricity deregulation and privatisation since the mid-1990s.2 It is referred to as `liberalisation' by its advocates, who use the term to disguise what is in essence a massive shift of ownership and control of electricity from public to private hands, in the name of economic efficiency and in the cause of private profits.

The privatisation of electricity is not something that citizens have demanded or wanted. In general, there has been very little public participation in electricity-reform decisions; instead, as experience has built up, there have been a number of bitter protests. Popular uprisings have occurred in Argentina, India, Indonesia, and Ghana. Protests have halted privatisation proposals in Peru, Ecuador, and Paraguay. In the Dominican Republic, several people were killed during protests against blackouts imposed by privatised companies….