Blueprint for Success
A key strategy behind our 1996 acquisition of Northern Electric and Gas in the United Kingdom was to gain the experience and skills necessary to compete in a competitive marketplace.

The creation of a totally competitive electricity market of this size, together with its supporting systems, is one of the most ambitious projects ever attempted. There are no exact models to copy or modify, or previous experiences from which to draw. Essentially, the entire industry was restructured with a number of objectives in mind – namely the creation of a competitive electricity market; financial independence from government; wider share ownership; and a greater involvement for employees in the future success of the companies for which they work.

To facilitate competition, it was essential that there be a separation of the monopoly elements of the business – transmission and distribution – from those elements subject to competition – generation and supply. At a time when many countries are looking to deregulate their utility industries and introduce greater competition, it is not surprising that these developments have attracted wide international attention. The electricity industry in the U.S., in fact, is currently undergoing a similar reorganization and is using the U.K. experience as a blueprint to follow in the design of its own deregulation process.