It prompts me to ask some questions.
Would the loss of power in downtown Calgary have occurred if Enmax were privately owned? Would management and the Board of Directors have done things differently? Would the engineers have mapped out more robust redundancies and alternate power routings? Would the finance and risk managers have spent more money and capital to protect against this eventuality–understanding that money invested in protecting Calgary’s downtown core was well-spent when contrasted to the potential loss of revenues–instead of refusing to spend this money and capital and holding it for their political masters the City of Calgary?
Would the Board and CEO survive an incident of this magnitude if the company were privately owned? Or will the politicians defer this question?
These questions are probably not answerable. Counterfactuals are always difficult. However, I’m not aware of a similarly localized significant event under a privately-owned power supplier. And such an event would surely have made the news. We have had power outages and grid failures, but not a major black mark emerging from a private power supplier.
I’m therefore disinclined to pursue the counterfactual question and simply arrive at the conclusion that a publicly-owned power provider has caused this major power outage, where a similar experience is unavailable for a private power supplier. That is sufficient for my purposes and my understanding.
Image: Flickr CC license EITIco68 Candles 4