Introduction by Colin Robinson
Edited by Colin Robinson
PRELIMS 6/2/02 11:22 am Page 20 Introduction Colin Robinson In the autumn of 2000 the tenth annual series of Beesley Lectures, named after the late Michael Beesley, took place. Following the example set by Michael, the organizers of the series selected lecturers who would apply economic principles to review some of the most topical issues in utility regulation and competition policy, complementing their papers with comments from regulators and ex-regulators. The combination of papers by independent commentators with remarks from the relevant regulators is a unique feature of the Beesley series. The papers and the comments, revised by their authors, appear as the chapters in this volume. The first chapter is on one of the most significant and innovative developments in any of the privatized utilities - the introduction of new electricity trading arrangements (NETA) which bring genuine markets into electricity and dispose of most of the remaining central controls left over from nationalization. Professor David Currie, speaking five months before the new arrangements were successfully introduced (in March 2001), makes a powerful case for the changes, arguing that NETA moves electricity much closer to a ‘normal market’ and also instals a governance structure which ‘allows for easy adjustment and change’. NETA is, in his view, a big improvement on the Pool, representing a ‘major step advance in the direction of a more competitive and efficient electricity market’. Callum McCarthy, the electricity and gas regulator, reinforces Currie’s emphasis on the importance of the new arrangements, making two principal points....
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