Conference slated for October 27 in Halifax will ask
“How will competition, deregulation and privatisation
in the continental electricity market affect this region?”

Co-sponsored by
the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) and
the Electricity Consumers Alliance of Nova Scotia (ECANS)

The electricity industry world-wide is being transformed from cosy local monopolies into a highly competitive industry. Privatization, deregulation and other market-opening initiatives are bringing choice in electricity suppliers to industrial users and individual consumers alike in many jurisdictions, while putting downward pressure on prices. International and interprovincial barriers to free movement of electricity are either falling or are under vigorous attack. In order to foster competition, many places are separating the generation and distribution sides of the industry.

While a few of these changes have made their way to Atlantic Canada, we are clearly well behind leaders such as Britain, California, Victoria State in Australia, and some New England states. These and other jurisdictions are learning how to harness the power of competition and markets in their electricity industry. That’s why the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies and the Electricity Consumers Alliance of Nova Scotia are co-sponsoring an event to bring the most thoughtful and provocative analysts in the energy world here to give us the benefit of their vast knowledge and experience of an industry in massive flux.

Plugging in Atlantic Canada will ask:

What have Atlantic Canadians to learn from the successes of other jurisdictions where deregulation or privatisation has succeeded, or has been flawed or incomplete?
How will deregulatory measures in the US and elsewhere shape the continental energy market?
What place is there in that continental market for Atlantic Canada?
What progress is being made in neighbouring New England?
What are the pitfalls to be avoided?
Can the status quo be maintained, and at what cost?
Can government be both owner and regulator of the industry?
These are vital questions for a region poised to be a continental energy giant in the coming decades, yet where state ownership of electrical utilities is still widespread, and where local monopolies have not yet had to face direct competitive pressures from outside provincial boundaries.

Just some of the confirmed speakers include:

Ken Malloy, founding President, Center for the Advancement of Energy Markets, Washington, DC, who will speak on “The emerging continental electricity industry“. Mr. Malloy is one of North America’s most sought-after speakers on the restructuring of the continental energy industry, including gas and electricity.

Tom Adams, Executive Director, Energy Probe. Toronto, will speak on “Deregulation, markets and competition: the Canadian experience“. Mr. Adams, author of two papers for AIMS on NB Power, has been advising the Ontario government on its efforts to introduce competition into that province’s electricity industry.

Prof. Leigh Hancher, University of Tilburg, Holland. The “best legal mind on electricity in Europe” will speak on the theme “Who’s getting electricity policy right in Europe?” Ms. Hancher literally wrote the book on this subject — Electricity Law in the European Union — and is a widely known and respected authority on all aspects of the industry in Britain and on the continent

Donald S. Macdonald, former federal Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Competition in Ontario’s Electricity System, will wrap up the event by asking, “Where do we go from here?”

The full programme and list of speakers is available on the AIMS website, Atlantic Canada’s think tank.

This is the electricity policy event of the decade, for regulators, power consumers and producers, policy makers, industry suppliers, utility owners and managers, and professionals involved in the financing, development, implementation or supervision of privatisation, competition and deregulation of the electricity industry in Atlantic Canada, New England or Quebec.

Date: October 27, 2000

Place: Sheraton Halifax

Cost: $175 before 1 October 2000; $200 after that date

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For further information, contact:

Brian Lee Crowley, President, AIMS, or Peter Fenwick, Director of Communications, AIMS, 902-429-1143, aims@aims.ca

John Woods, Executive Director, Electricity Consumers Alliance of Nova Scotia, 902-497-7346, jwoods@supercity.ns.ca