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North American Economic and Financial Integration

ISBN: 978-0-76231-094-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-260-3

Publication date: 30 June 2004


Creating a continental energy market, including an interconnected electricity industry, was a central motivation for the U.S. government in the negotiation of the CUSFTA and NAFTA. Free trade agreements and regulatory changes in North America have fundamentally altered the characteristics of the electricity industry and the strategies of its constituent firms over the past decade. Markets are replacing extensive regulation in many states, many new firms have entered the industry, long term stability and predictability of returns to firms and of electricity prices have been replaced with the uncertainties of competition, and blackouts in California have become global headline news. In this period of rapid transition in the electricity industry, firms, states and consumers confront both new opportunities and new problems that were unimaginable a decade ago. The essential role of electricity in all economic activity makes this industry a critical component of the North American economy, but the future of the industry is far from clear.

This paper discusses the material characteristics of the electricity industry and outlines the provisions of the CUSFTA and NAFTA and regulatory changes that affected the electricity industry over the past decade. The paper then examines the evolution of the continental electricity industry, with particular emphasis on the efforts to create competitive markets. The paper then analyzes the strategies of particular firms to respond to and take advantage of these processes. The conclusion analyzes the policy implications of these processes and firm strategies.


Ciccantell, P.S. (2004), "A CONTINENTAL ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY", Rugman, A.M. (Ed.) North American Economic and Financial Integration (Research in Global Strategic Management, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 299-315.



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