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Abstract

On August 14, 2003, in a matter of minutes, the lights went out, affecting around fifty million people in the northeastern United States (allegedly most powerful nation on the planet), Ontario, and Quebec. This constituted the biggest blackout in North American history. Only a couple of weeks later, commuters in London (UK) were affected by a power outage in the underground. In September in Copenhagen and southern Sweden almost four million users were left in the dark. After alternative explanations were ruled out and the expected political game of passing the blaming around receded, many began attributing these all too common problems of brownouts and blackouts on systemic, underlying conditions. The processes of liberalization and privatization of the power sectors ended up under negative public scrutiny. This is the kind of time in which von-der-Fehr and Millan's book saw the light.

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