Power to People: The Inside Story of AES and the Globalization of Electricity

Overview

In the late 1990s, while Enron was flying high, a smaller power company flew under the radar. AES was founded in 1981 according to a different set of principles—fiscally conservative investment strategies paired with the belief that business can be both fun and socially responsible.

When Roger Sant arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1974, industry and government were focused on securing ever more oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, not on efficiency. Sant, who left a teaching ...

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Power to People: The Inside Story of AES and the Globalization of Electricity

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Overview

In the late 1990s, while Enron was flying high, a smaller power company flew under the radar. AES was founded in 1981 according to a different set of principles—fiscally conservative investment strategies paired with the belief that business can be both fun and socially responsible.

When Roger Sant arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1974, industry and government were focused on securing ever more oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, not on efficiency. Sant, who left a teaching position at Stanford’s business school to become assistant administrator of the Federal Energy Administration, was committed to changing the focus. With his colleague Dennis Bakke and a handful of investors, Sant founded AES, an upstart energy service company that would ultimately help transform the industry. The company was built on Sant and Bakke’s ideals: a healthy work environment, a healthy natural environment, and efficient electricity generation and delivery at an affordable price. AES seized the opportunities created by deregulation of the electricity industry, breaking free of an energy infrastructure dating back to Thomas Edison’s day. While Enron and many others stumbled, AES proved itself able to survive and often to thrive. Rapid growth would become the company’s greatest challenge, yet through exhilarating highs and disappointing lows, AES has maintained its founders’ original vision of electricity generation that sustains workers, consumers, and the environment.

Power to People is the story of electricity privatization, expanding global markets, and the transformation of an industry. It is also proof of the electrifying combination of innovation and good citizenship.

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Editorial Reviews

Director Emeritus of Electric Power and Natural Gas Practice, McKinsey & Company - Les Silverman

"Unfolding like a novel, Peter Grose's outstanding book documents the rise, collapse, and turnaround of AES, the most successful startup in the early days of the deregulating and globalizing electric power business. With valuable commentary from Roger Sant, cofounder of AES and its first chairman and CEO, Grose helps us to appreciate the upside of a values-driven approach, but also the imperatives for management and the board to ensure that values enhance—and don't undercut—performance."
Dean Emeritus, Harvard Business School - John H. McArthur

"It would be difficult to overestimate the important contributions that this remarkeable pioneering organization has made to people and to knowledge across the globe. It is an engaging story and invaluable read for all those who find themselves lost in organizations that cannot seem to get moving in long-established markets and ways of thinking. AES helped turn its mature, set-in-its-ways, aging industry inside out."
former AES director, coauthor of In Search of Excellence - Bob Waterman

"I love this story and this book. What intrigues me most is how Sant's determination to make business both fun and socially responsible could be so powerful in taking a fragile entrepreneurial dream to the threshold of worldwide success. It's a compelling tale, extremly relevant in today's go-go, anything-for-the-shareholder economy."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597261722
  • Publisher: Island Press
  • Publication date: 7/4/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 186
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Grose is a former New York Times and Foreign Affairs editor. His latest book is called Operation Rollback: America’s Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, following upon his biography of Allen Dulles, Gentleman Spy. He periodically appears on the History Channel, CBS News, and C-Span to comment on the history of intelligence.

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