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Power Switch

Power Switch: Energy Regulatory Governance in the Twenty-First Century

G. Bruce Doern
Monica Gattinger
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 240
  • Book Info
    Power Switch
    Book Description:

    In the energy sector of Canadian economic and political life, power has a double meaning. It is quintessentially about the generation of power and physical energy. However, it is also about political power, the energy of the economy, and thus the overall governance of Canada.Power Switchoffers a critical examination of the changing nature of energy regulatory governance, with a particular focus on Canada in the larger contexts of the George W. Bush administration's aggressive energy policies and within North American energy markets.

    Focusing on the key institutions and complex regimes of regulation, Bruce Doern and Monica Gattinger look at specific regulatory bodies such as the National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board, and the Ontario Energy Board. They also examine the complex systems of rule making that develop as traditional energy regulation interacts and often collides with environmental and climate change regulation, such as the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.Power Switchis one of the first accounts in many years of Canada's overall energy regulatory system.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7868-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    G. Bruce Doern and Monica Gattinger
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In the energy sector of Canadian economic and political life, power always has a double meaning. It is quintessentially about the generation of power and physical energy. It is also about political power, and hence about the relative ascendancy and decline of institutions and interests, and about what ideas and values are central in the overall governance of energy in Canada, as well as, of course, continentally and globally. The ʹpower switchʹ that has occurred in the last two decades needs a careful examination, one that enhances understanding of the new regulatory governance of energy and explains how it came...


    • 1 Canadian Energy Policy and Regulation in Historical Context
      (pp. 21-39)

      Energy policy and regulatory development in Canada has historically been a function of five political-economic imperatives: a rich and diverse energy endowment of oil and gas, hydroelectric power, coal, and nuclear fuels; a Canadian dependence on U.S. continental markets to make feasible most energy developments; divided political jurisdiction over energy policy between the federal and provincial governments, but with resource ownership powers residing mainly in the hands of the latter; the pan-Canadian spatial reality of energy resources located in regions distant from consumer population centres, thus triggering significant transportation problems but also entrenched political-economic divisions among Canadaʹs regions, especially between...

    • 2 Analysing the Power Switch: Factors and Framework
      (pp. 40-70)

      This chapter provides a basis for analysing the power switch in energy regulatory governance through a closer look at the key factors driving recent change and through a framework of contemporary energy regulation cast as a system of interacting energy regulatory regimes, one largely sectoral and the other horizontal. The resulting interplay of institutions (and related interests) thus shows energy regulation as involving the governance of a complex networked essential service industry. But crucially, energy regulatory governance also consists of networked cooperating and competing regulators with partially contending views of what essential service means. Though the energy regulatory system has...

    • 3 U.S. Influences: FERC and Alternative Energy Regulatory Models
      (pp. 71-92)

      While this book focuses on Canadaʹs changing energy regulatory institutions, previous chapters have already testified to the overall historical influence of the United States, including the recent initiatives of the Bush administration in 2001 and 2002, on Canadian energy development and regulation. But U.S. influences have also been quite direct and specific during the last decade and in many ways are centred on the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and its adoption of alternative regulatory models. This chapter examines more closely key energy regulatory reforms in the United States and their impact on Canada. The FERC is...


    • 4 The National Energy Board
      (pp. 95-113)

      The National Energy Board (NEB) in the early years of the twenty-first century is facing a regulatory context which quite quickly has taken on a new shape and urgency. The events of 11 September 2001 have brought a renewed focus on pipeline security and safety, including provisions in Bill C-46 which require renewed vigilance by the NEB in concert with other federal departments and agencies. The U.S. Bush administrationʹs National Energy Policy, coupled with other underlying changes in North American energy markets, has led to renewed interest in new pipelines to bring northern natural gas to southern Canadian and U.S....

    • 5 The Ontario Energy Board
      (pp. 114-133)

      Compared to the National Energy Board (NEB), the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) experienced much less even change across the entire period since 1985. The OEBʹs transformation is centrally linked to the radical changes in the electricity industry during the late 1990s that produced a more competitive electricity structure, a transformation that had several knock-on effects on energy regulation more broadly. The OEB is now a regulatory agency with an expanded role in electricity as well as gas regulation, and with a mandate informed by performance and incentive-based regulation rather than the earlier utility-cum-adjudicative system. The larger regulatory system in Ontario...

    • 6 The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board
      (pp. 134-152)

      The Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (AEUB) is an independent, quasi-judicial agency of the government of Alberta. Established on 15 February 1995 by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board Act, the AEUB is the amalgamation of two previously separate energy regulators, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the Public Utilities Board (PUB). On 1 April 1996 the Alberta Geological Survey (ACS) also joined the organization. As a newly created agency, the AEUB is still in its infancy, but it is far from a fledging regulator. Cumulatively, the lives of the Energy Resources Conservation Board, the Public Utilities Board, and...

    • 7 Energy and Competition Regulation: Towards Workable Competition
      (pp. 153-173)

      Key aspects of the sectoral energy regulatory regime have been brought out in the previous three chapters on the NEB, OEB, and AEUB. With a sectoral focus, they have shown how energy regulation has changed over the last fifteen years, but always in the context of the particular influences and shaping events and interests in each jurisdiction, one federal and two provincial. These sectoral energy board–level analyses have also shown the presence of horizontal regulatory regime influences and institutional arrangements, particularly regarding expanded environmental roles. But we have by no means come close to capturing the two horizontal aspects...

    • 8 Energy and Environmental Regulation: Regulatory ʹStackingʹ in the Climate Change Era
      (pp. 174-198)

      The second realm of inter-regime energy regulatory change centres on energy regulation in relation to environmental regulation. Chapters 1 and 2 introduced the most basic historical contours of the energy-environment links, including the Berger Commission, the Brundtland report and the emergence of the sustainable development paradigm, and Canadaʹs commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. We have also had some insights into these shifts from our earlier accounts of the NEB, OEB, and AEUB, where, even more clearly than in the competition realms, these sectoral regulators have taken on new environmental regulatory tasks themselves. These chapters have shown how these environmental tasks...

  8. Conclusions
    (pp. 199-212)

    Canadian energy regulatory governance has changed markedly in the last twenty years. In the early twenty-first century, the regulatory governance of Canadaʹs energy sector is characterized by a much more complex interaction between two energy regulatory regimes, the traditional sectoral regime and the horizontal regime. The former regulates energy as a distinct industrial sector with its own unique industrial and economic characteristics, and the latter horizontal regulatory regime seeks to establish framework rules and regulations, such as those for the environment and competition, the two aspects of the horizontal regime we have explored in this book. The interaction between these...

  9. References
    (pp. 213-232)
  10. Index
    (pp. 233-240)