chapter  1
Historical Public Policy Controversy
WithDouglas F. Barnes
Pages 22

The relevance of the historical debate for is that the criticisms of rural electrification and lessons learned from poorly implemented past programs seem to have been forgotten. For new advocates of rural electrification, the historical debate offers forgotten lessons. At about the time energy was coming under closer scrutiny because of rising oil prices in the late 1970s, criticism of rural electrification became a serious public policy issue. Awareness of the controversy led the organization not only to evaluate the efficacy of rural electrification, but also to determine when, where, and with what complementary conditions rural electrification has the most impact. During the 1980s, critics asserted that investments in rural electrification were investments forgone for other community services or energy programs. The expected result was that people in the upper strata of rural communities would be able to take advantage of the benefits of subsidized electricity.