Resource Details
Tools
Resource Sections
Errors / Omissions?

Do you see an error or want to contribute? Please contact us, or register and submit your links.

Mailing List
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive regular updates on new features, new policy areas, announcements, and more.

HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

EPCOR: A Study of Ownership, Accountability, and the Public Interest

Discussion Paper by Diana Gibson

As Diana Gibson explains, EPCOR was founded on Edmonton’s power and water utilities, yet operates in other provinces and in the US. Although EPCOR is owned by the City of Edmonton, it is not accountable to the public and takes no direction from the City with regard to its operation. Efforts to privatize EPCOR have been rebuffed, and EPCOR has issued shares that trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. According to Gibson, there is a pressing issue of accountability. She explores the issue of accountability, considering both public and private enterprises. She also examines the specific plan to pass Edmonton’s drainage services to EPCOR.

Gibson states that publicly-owned business enterprises generally have a broad set of accountabilities, while direct public operation has the greatest degree of accountability. In contrast, she says modern large business corporations have only a direct accountability – to maximize shareholder profits. The author explores the issue of accountability in detail. She contends that EPCOR operates at the corporate end of the accountability spectrum in that its primary focus pertains to shareholders and growth. There is a lack of oversight by City Council and other stakeholders.

The author explores the problems with EPCOR’s current mode of operation. Specifically, she asserts that EPCOR is at risk of privatization, which she suggests would “mean the complete and final loss of the public’s control over utilities.” Consequently, she warns, utility rates would increase while profits and corporate control would move abroad. As well, profit maximization would override public interest in “orderly city development, protection of the environment, and livable wages to support families and communities.” Gibson concludes that since the City of Edmonton continues to be a major shareholder in EPCOR, it can take steps to increase EPCOR’s accountability. She insists it is important for the City of Edmonton to take action while it still can.

(Added: Mon Aug 27 2007 Hits: 185 Rating: 0.00 Votes: 0)   Rate It   Review It


Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Diana Gibson;
Publisher: Parkland Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal; Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Infrastructure
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Energy
Policy Articles / Monetary & Capital Management / Privatization
Policy Articles / Monetary & Capital Management / Government & Business Enterprises
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Energy
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Municipal Infrastructure / 2005
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate / Energy / 2005
Policy Articles / Monetary & Capital Management / Government & Business Enterprises / 2005
Policy Articles / Monetary & Capital Management / Privatization / 2005
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Energy / 2005
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities
Policy Articles / Environment & Climate
Policy Articles / Monetary & Capital Management
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral


Keywords / Tags:

EPCOR; Edmonton; public utilities; power & water utilities; drainage system; accountability; public operation; privatization; profit maximization; US;