The electric power industry is mutating all over the globe. We can analyze, study, and compare, yet no single and universal model has emerged in any country. Each has developed a solution of its own.
The restructuring of the U.S. electric power industry has provoked a strong response here in Canada, but few seem to care that a U.S. solution could prove ill-advised on this side of the border. The structures of electric industries are fundamentally different in both countries. Prudence is called for.
Some segments of the Canadian electricity industry are experiencing a major shift in their production strategies. Traditional transmission and distribution policies are also being questioned as some market players seek new alternatives for electricity supply.
In Canada, the policy debate over restructuring is complicated by the dominance of a small number of publicly owned monopolies. Many people (em legislators, regulators, and existing or potential producers (em regard monopolies as a perverse element in the industry, a barrier to good trading practices. Since the monopolies are publicly owned, talk of privatization inevitably surfaces. But the existence of publicly owned monopolies does not prove that the Canadian industry is not competitive or cannot fully participate in a so-called competitive market. More competition could mean freer markets, rather than a proliferation of hundreds of new producers.