Following from recent discussions on Bella about public ownership of energy companies, this by Thoma M Hanna.
Nebraska’s energy is all publicly owned, yet it blows away the myth that public ownership is inherently inefficient, bureaucratic or unresponsive.
Around the world, people often assume that in the United States, home to a no-holds-barred version of “free market” capitalism, private ownership operates more or less across the board.
In addition to its other wind power facilities, in 2005 NPDD began operating the Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility, the nation’s second largest publicly-owned wind farm consisting of 36 turbines generating up to 59.5 MW of energy.
“The nationalization of the electricity, gas and other utilities resulted in the centralization of many activities that had formerly been locally or municipally owned and subject to a reasonable degree of local democratic control … Not only did this eviscerate important traditions of municipal socialism and more democratic forms of public ownership, but it also led to an increasing number of costly and unaccountable decisions (notably the decision to invest in nuclear power) by nationalized entities.”Such experiences often reinforce the concern that public ownership of larger-scale systems can lead to inefficiency, unaccountability, and bureaucracy. But Nebraska demonstrates that this does not necessarily have to be the case.