The writing of this book was largely motivated by the ongoing unprecedented world-wide restructuring of the power industry. This move away from the traditional monopolies and toward greater competition, in the form of increased numbers of independent power producers and an unbundling of the main services that were until now provided by the utilities, has been building up for over a decade. This change was driven by the large disparities in electricity tariffs across regions, by technological developments that make it possible for small producers to compete with large ones, and by a widely held belief that competition will be beneficial in a broad sense. All of this together with the political will to push through the necessary legislative reforms has created a climate conducive to restructuring in the electric power industry. Consequently, since the beginning of this decade dramatic changes have taken place in an ever-increasing list of nations, from the pioneering moves in the United Kingdom, Chile and Scandinavia, to today's highly fluid power industry throughout North and South America, as well as in the European Community. The drive to restructure and take advantage of the potential economic benefits has, in our view, forced the industry to take actions and make choices at a hurried pace, without the usual deliberation and thorough analysis of possible implications. We must admit that to speak of "the industry" at this juncture is perhaps disingenuous, even misleading.