Trusted, top-notch utility industry legal reports, training, and speciality texts—100 years and counting!
Trusted, top-notch utility industry legal reports, training, and speciality texts—100 years and counting!
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Electricity Acts
Electricity Acts
Public Utilities Reports, Inc.

Electricity Acts

Regular price $89.00 $0.00

In the 1990s, the British government turned its whole electricity system upside down and inside out, privatizing and deregulating the utilities. The British model spread worldwide–even to America. How did the British industry get into a state that required a revolution, and what did this revolution really accomplish?

The electricity revolution in Britain created millions of winners and losers—consumers, coal miners, nuclear operators, investors, executives and politicians—and the same process is ongoing in the United States. To be on the winning side, read Electricity Acts to learn how to survive and even thrive.

Leonard S. Hyman, the author of America’s Electric Utilities: Past, Present and Future, headed utility research at one of America’s largest brokerage houses and was an early advocate of utility deregulation. He was part of a banking team that worked with industry and government during and after the U.K.’s electricity privatization and that led him to investigate how the electricity market developed in the United Kingdom, why the British did what they did, and what followed from all the effort. This book tells the story.

Who benefits from reading this book?

• Utility executives who have to navigate a new regulatory and financial framework
• Regulators and policy makers seeking to avoid the mistakes made in the United Kingdom
• Consumer advocates who want the average electricity user to come out ahead
• Policy makers seeking ways to assure reliability when the market does not
• Investment bankers looking for deals
• Private equity and infrastructure investors on the prowl for acquisitions
• Lenders assessing credit risk in an evolving industry
• Investors who want to avoid risks and maximize returns
• Nuclear and renewable promoters looking for support in a new market

Dimensions and Features:


ISBN: 978-0-910325-38-7
7 x 10 inches
502 pages
(c) 2017


"Same old Len Hyman—meticulously researched, information rich, provocative and funny. Who else but Len can elicit a smile or chuckle from every other page of a book about electricity? This book is a classic and will be the go-to reference on the history of U.K. electricity policy for many years to come."
- Philip O'Connor, President, PROactive Strategies, Inc.

"Who would guess that a history of the U.K. electric power industry would be so entertaining? Mr. Hyman's book is full of delights. He makes what might be dry history into a fascinating page-turner, enlivened by wit and keen insights. He starts from the early years of the coal-gas illumination business in the mid-nineteenth century and then the electric production and distribution business that arose to compete with coal-gas. The success or growth of electricity enterprises in the U.K. was always burdened by the heavy hand of governmental and political ideologies that stifled innovation and discouraged private investment. Well-meaning makers of public policy got it wrong over and over. Entrepreneurs, bankers, and capitalists got it wrong when they failed to understand that the use of equipment and its technical obsolescence were a cost element and that capital had a cost that was not being met.

Mr. Hyman is just right in his survey of the centralization and nationalization of the industry post WWII and the privatization movement of the 1990s, riding waves of socialism and capitalism. All along, Mr. Hyman praises a few individuals and initiatives and skewers many. He shares insights that are highly relevant to investors in 21st century technology companies, as well as to investors today in renewable energies or in the incumbent gas and electric networks. His writing is crystal clear, and he punctuates the text with tables and charts that underscore his points. In each chapter, the author follows his clear exposition of the historical record by summing up some sharp conclusions. My favorite part of the book is a section of Chapter 22 in which the author shares 20 Lessons Learned from the history of the U.K. electricity industry; these are gems.”
- Amazon reviewer

"Leonard Hyman has written a very insightful book about the attempt of the Thatcher government to privatize the provision and distribution of electricity in the U.K. market. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the intersection of philosophy, economics, government policy and market behavior."
-Ellen Lapson, CFA, Lapson Advisory

Table of Contents:

Author’s Preface
Inventors, Investors and Interfering Politicians: Getting the Business Going
Chapter 1: In the Beginning (1800-1887)
Chapter 2: Growth and Scale (1888-1909)
Chapter 3: Searching for Structure (1909-1926)
Chapter 4: Before the Grid: UK vs USA (1882-1926)
The “Gridiron:” Rationally Reorganizing the Industry
Chapter 5: Building the Grid (1926-1933)
Chapter 6: The CEB Takes Charge (1933-1942)
Chapter 7: Scotland and the TVA of the North (1885-1943)
Chapter 8: The Road to Nationalization (1942-1947)
Chapter 9: The CEB Delivered the Goods: UK vs USA (1926-1946)
Scientific Socialists and Nuclear Conservatives: Nationalized Electricity
Chapter 10: The Citrine Era (1947-1957)
Chapter 11: The Nuclear Push (1957-1970)
Chapter 12: Slowdown, Strike and Privatization (1970-1990)
Chapter 13: Nationalization’s Semi Success: UK vs USA (1947-1990)
Capitalism Triumphant: Return to Private Ownership
Chapter 14: Packaging and Selling an Industry (1990-1991)
Chapter 15: Debugging the System (1991-1994)
Chapter 16: The Tories Finish the Job (1995-1997)
Chapter 17: Privatization’s Seven Fat Years (1990-1997)
Chapter 18: Labor Restructures (1997-2001)
Chapter 19: After the Pool (2001-2011)
Chapter 20: The Coalition Changes the Course (2010-2015)
Chapter 21: Twenty Five Years Privatized: UK vs USA (1990-2015)
Political Power and Power Politics: Real World Lessons and the Triumph of Technology
Chapter 22: Power, Politics, Consumers and Technology
Appendix: Technics and Metrics
Appendix: Statistical Tables