Market fails to cope with the rise of the unreliables
14 September 2017
Creeping nationalisation to fix policy blunders would make Lenin smile
In the former Soviet Union, electricity-generating plants were built with the architectural grandeur of cathedrals, some with stained glass windows. The leader of the Russian Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, saw the electricity grid as the perfect expression of socialism, distributing power to the people through the medium of central planning. “Communism is Soviet power plus the electrification of the whole country,” he said.
The supply of electricity has always had a heavy element of state control, mainly because the grid is a natural monopoly. Nobody wants multiple wires running down the street. In Australia, it was first nationalised in Tasmania in 1916 and in the rest of the country soon after. Since privatisations in Victoria and South Australia in the 1990s, it has been…
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