Democracy And Regulation
Democracy And Regulation

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Jerrold Oppenheim
Theo MacGregor

57 Middle Street
Gloucester, Mass.
01930 USA

Other Works
By Greg Palast

February 1, 2003
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REGULATORY ASSISTANCE PROJECT DIRECTOR AND FORMER MAINE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSIONER CHERYL HARRINGTON: Your book is unique and useful. It is the best text for regulators since Alfred Kahn's.

CALIFORNIA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSIONER CARL WOOD, in the Foreword: "Palast, Oppenheim and MacGregor have drawn on a vast pool of practical experience, wide international contacts and profoundly democratic motivation to examine and explain the U.S. utility regulatory system as a model for an epoch which is characterized worldwide by the sudden and often unconsidered privatisation of essential utility services previously owned and operated (however well or poorly) for the public good."

R. A. MILLER, WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY in CHOICE: This volume discusses governmental regulation of public utilities--firms supplying electricity, gas, telephones, and water. Regulation works best, the authors argue, when regulators adhere to the democratic process: public access to information, public participation in setting prices. The US democratic process is generally superior to that elsewhere, e.g., in South Africa, India, Peru, the UK, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, and other countries. The authors (an economist-reporter, a lawyer, and a regulator) have a wealth of experience in utility regulation, and it is evident on every page. The recent electricity crisis in California (and Enron's participation) receives considerable attention. Throughout the book the democratic process receives most of the credit or blame. Unfortunately, the economic analysis is either weak or incomplete (e.g., no mention of the contribution to the California electricity crisis of either the drought in the Pacific Northwest or the prohibition of forward contracts). The authors' detailed description of the US utility regulatory system will be especially useful to those new to the topic. A companion source of information to this book is a Web site containing updates and additional documentation. Summing Up: Recommended. Public and undergraduate library collections."

MEG POWER, NATIONAL COMMUNITY ACTION FOUNDATION: "This masterpiece suggests the way the whole world should see the amazing system of utility governance we Americans take for granted. This book is required reading for anyone committed to maximum feasible participation of those directly affected by public policy."

ENTERGY CORP. STRATEGIC PLANNING MANAGER BENGT JARLSJO: “Very informative, unique, and uplifting. I believe that every person, including regulators, environmentalists, consultants, and employees, working to implement new projects, rates, and programs for regulated companies should consider DEMOCRACY AND REGULATION required reading.”

ICELAND CONFEDERATION OF STATE AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES (BSRB) OFFICIAL ANNA ATLADOTTIR: "Your book is a tremendous help in my work as the Icelandic member Of The Standing Committee on Public Utilities of the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU). Thank you for setting forth complicated issues in such a way that ordinary people are able to understand them."

NATIONAL CONSUMER LAW CENTER: "DEMOCRACY AND REGULATION is a valuable book for those who believe in regulating utilities in the public interest, filled with useful data, tables and ample footnotes."

EUROPEAN FEDERATION OF PUBLIC SERVICE UNIONS (EPSU) “recommends the book as a valuable contribution to what will inevitably become the new battleground in Europe’s liberalised energy markets: how to control powerful profit maximising, often transnational, energy companies, ensuring they deliver a reliable and affordable public service. Competition is not the answer but democratic regulation is.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSIONER NANCY BROCKWAY: "If you have no other books on public utilities, you should have this one. Palast, Oppenheim and MacGregor provide a timely and thoroughly documented analysis of the necessary role of the public in overseeing provision of electricity, gas and other utility services in a free market society. DEMOCRACY AND REGULATION is a timely reminder that these essential services cannot simply be left to the invisible hand of the market, or worse to the inscrutable hand of the back-room deal."

  1. DEMOCRACY AND REGULATION: How the Public Can Govern Essential Services