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Daniel Silander and Charlotte Silander

This book has explored the role of political entrepreneurship in promoting growth, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial diversity in Sweden. The different chapters have contributed to a greater understanding of one or more themes of the book: (1) political entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship; (2) political entrepreneurship and regional growth; and (3) political entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial diversity. Although several chapters referred to Nordic, European and European Union (EU) conditions, the analytical focus was on Sweden, with the book providing several case and comparative illustrations on Swedish political entrepreneurship in regional and local settings. By exploring political entrepreneurship in Sweden, we believe that this book has contributed to broader insights on favourable and unfavourable conditions for entrepreneurship that transcends Swedish borders.

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Charlie Karlsson

In recent years and not least after the latest financial and economic crisis, we have seen a strongly renewed interest for industrial policy to get the developed economies growing again. Politicians and their experts and advisers have been hunting desperately for new approaches to industrial policy and have increasingly started to act as political entrepreneurs. The renewed interest in industrial policy and the increased importance of political entrepreneurs urge us once again to ask the fundamental question of what should be the proper focus, measures and extent of industrial policy. Should the industrial policy be vertical and focus on specific industries and even specific companies or should it be horizontal and focus on improving the general conditions for all industries and firms? However, there is a related and partly more controversial question, namely, what is the proper spatial scale for policy interventions by political entrepreneurs? Should industrial policy focus on certain places and possibly focus on existing and/or emerging industrial clusters or should it be spatially neutral and not try to discriminate between different regions and places? The purpose of this chapter is to throw some light on all above questions but with some extra focus on the questions concerning the spatial aspects.

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David E. Andersson and Ake E. Andersson

This chapter deals with entrepreneurial factors that support the long-term development of a region. The analysis focuses on decisions on investment in durable public resources that constitute the regional and economic infrastructure. Politicians and planners mostly use the term infrastructure to refer to physical networks links such as roads, railways and utility networks. Here, we use it in the broader sense of all durable and shared systems that support the regional economy. The infrastructure thus includes material public capital such as roads, but also non-material public capital, including regional accessibility to knowledge and markets and a region’s formal and informal institutions. The first section includes a discussion on the infrastructural conditions and their geographical extension for economic development and what constitutes the material and non-material dimensions of infrastructure that favour economic development. It is followed by a historical approach to the role of infrastructure in the Swedish Industrial Revolution and the transformation into a creative knowledge society. This section identifies how the Swedish infrastructure planning and policies of the 1970s and afterwards have changed from national towards regional perspectives and also how the private sector has come to play an active role in pushing for new initiatives on infrastructure development. Two illustrative examples of material public capital are analysed.

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David E. McNabb

There are three major classes of public transportation systems: (1) those that serve metropolitan areas, (2) rural area systems, and (3) services managed by nonprofit organizations that operate demand response services exclusively. Nonprofit organizations are eligible for federal financial assistance to purchase vehicles and offer their demand services. Not included are school bus systems. Transit system buses, ferries, trains, and planes are all regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation if they are used to transport people or cargo across state lines. Buses, ferries, and trains that do not cross state lines are regulated by the states in which they are registered and operate. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) mandated that no person with a disability may be denied the opportunity to use the public transportation system.
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David E. McNabb

This chapter introduces readers to the diverse nature of the public utilities sector in the United States. After defining the electric power, natural gas, water and wastewater, solid waste and public transportation sectors, the chapter explains the justification for utilities’ natural monopolies designation. The chapter then moves to a history of the industry leading to the factors that shape the industry in the twenty-first century. For public utilities in general, many, but not all, of the problems they faced in the last several decades of the twentieth century have been solved. However, new challenges to maintaining sustainability have arisen to replace those that have been addressed.
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Public Utilities, Second Edition

Old Problems, New Challenges

David E. McNabb

A thoroughly updated introduction to the current issues and challenges facing managers and administrators in the investor and publicly owned utility industry, this engaging volume addresses management concerns in five sectors of the utility industry: electric power, natural gas, water, wastewater systems and public transit.
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David E. McNabb

Utilities’ environmental challenges result from operations and processes that have negative effects on the sustainability of the environmental quality and well-being of the organisms living in it. Utility operators and managers must know how to deal with environmental problems; they have been required to do so since the 1970s and even earlier. Environmental regulations are challenges associated with preserving the health, safety and employment of workers as well as customers and the public in general. Sustainable operations under the existing period of climate change are a challenge. Maintaining sustainable delivery of services in the face of population growth and demographic changes is a challenge. This chapter reviews how utilities are developing the means and willpower to survive and thrive in the face of a host of challenges based in our natural environment.
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David E. McNabb

The public utilities finance function requires decision-making in at least four principal areas: (1) capital structure, which refers to the ratio of debt to equity in the financing of the organization; (2) the operating expense and investment structure, which are influenced by the regulatory environment; together, these heavily influence the utility’s allowed return on investment; (3) the acquisition and cost of capital, which are shaped by the financial strength of the utility; and (4) working capital requirements. Traditionally, service revenues were sufficient to cover operating costs on a pay-as-you-go basis, while capital improvements were financed through borrowing or grants. For publicly owned utilities, the traditional structure is changing, however. Fewer federal or state grants are available and loans are very hard to come by. This chapter discusses the need for rate increases to fund operations and capital improvements.
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David E. McNabb

Governance is the process of managing the operations of organizations and their relationships with their internal and external stakeholders. In most industries strategy is decided by directors and senior officers, while the responsibility for carrying out operations is delegated to managers and supervisors. In rural areas, utilities are often owned and governed by consumer cooperatives, local utility districts, or by a public utility district (PUD). In urban areas, utilities are either governed by an elected governance body, by managers appointed by elected city officials. Oversight of both public and investor-owned electric and gas utilities is most often exercised through state and local regulatory authorities. Ownership of water and wastewater utilities has followed a municipal or mutual model. However, more of these systems are being sold or leased to private operators, while in others a number of traditional utility services are now contracted out to the public sector—the practice of outsourcing.
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David E. McNabb

Chapter 12 focuses on the information technology systems in utilities. A typical utility’s IT infrastructure is built around three IT functions: operational systems, organizational or enterprise information systems, and subscribed systems. Operational systems integrate supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), process and other critical technologies employed for the control, movement and monitoring of electricity gas, water, waste, or transit vehicles and their customer services. Organizational information systems include the core product operating system, applications systems, and business systems. Subscribed systems are the managed systems outside of the utility but which are regularly or intermittently accessed by utilities. They include Internet service providers, hosted networks, data storage and cloud services and many others. There are two general categories of publish-subscribe systems, subject-based or content-based.