Privatization of utility companies and provision of basic services via Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) has been the conventional wisdom of a liberal dogma that reigned supreme from the 1980s until the global financial crisis in 2008. Private providers would run municipal enterprises more efficiently and their privatization would free capital for other purposes, so the argument went. Critics have pointed to negative consequences of such privatizations: often the new owners hiked prices and contributed to energy poverty. Urban communities on the other hand were deprived of the ability to actively shape local energy policies and introduce social and environmental consideration into local energy politics. Such criticism has led to initiatives for improved schemes of local energy provision, ranging from changed ownership structures, modified private-public partnerships to prevention or reversal privatization of communal energy providers.
This seminar will gather practitioners, civil society and academics to discuss merits and challenges of such initiatives and similarities and differences between them.