Has restructuring succeeded on either continent?
Terrence L. Barnich, on leave as chairman and president of New Paradigm Resources Group Inc. of Chicago, is currently serving in Iraq with the U.S. State Department’s Iraq Reconstruction Management Office (IRMO) as senior policy and legal advisor to the ministry of electricity. Barnich served as chairman and commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission from October 1989 through November 1993. Contact him at email@example.com.
Philip R. O’Connor, Ph.D., is Illinois vice president of Constellation NewEnergy Inc. He served as chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission from 1983 through 1985. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The authors are solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. (This article is based on a paper by the authors, “Le Grand Expérience de l’électricité et du gaz naturel: Le parallèlisme entre l’Ancien Régime et le Nouveau Paradigme” (“The Grand Experiment in Electricity and Natural Gas: Parallelism between the Old Regime and the New Paradigm.”), presented at the Bordeaux Energy Colloquium in September 2006. The Colloquium, sponsored and hosted annually in France by Fahim and Kimberly Samaha, is the premier gathering of North American and European energy and environmental experts and practitioners.)
In 1984, the world of electricity was organized along the lines of a common model based on a shared belief that a specific industry structure was implied by the prevailing electric technology and financial requirements of the industry. A little over two decades later, the principles of the “Ten Point Plan” issued by the Illinois Commerce Commission are manifest in public policy and industry practice in both of the great federal politico-economic systems of the North Atlantic (see sidebar, “The Original ‘Ten Point Plan’ of 1984”).
The European Union has promulgated competitive energy market policy directives for electricity that individual member states have implemented to widely varying degrees.1 The United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries fully have implemented retail open access, while others have gone part of the way, allowed access nominally, or done relatively little. The EU is rife with internal controversy over large utility mergers and issues of de-verticalization.