Utility Regulation and Competition Policy

Utility Regulation and Competition Policy

Edited by Colin Robinson

In this book, the latest volume in the annual series published in association with the London Business School and the Institute of Economic Affairs, some of the main issues in UK and EU utility regulation and competition policy are discussed. Topics examined include the new electricity and gas trading markets, regulating the railways, introducing competition into water, telecoms and Ofcom, opening EU gas and electricity markets, the 1998 Competition Act, EU merger policy and a general review of privatisation and regulation in Britain. Essays by expert commentators are followed in each case by comments from the relevant regulator.

Chapter 1: The New Electricity Trading Arrangements in England and Wales: A Review – David Currie, Chairman’s Comments – Callum McCarthy

David Currie

Subjects: economics and finance, competition policy, public finance, public sector economics

Extract

My aim in this chapter is to review the new electricity trading arrangements (NETA) which will come into force quite soon.1 This review cannot be that of an objective outsider, since my role has been more that of an insider. Thus, following Stephen Littlechild’s invitation, I first served as a special adviser to Offer on RETA (Review of Electricity Trading Arrangements) as it was then called; then following our chairman McCarthy’s invitation as a member of the Ofgem Management Board; and then finally before the summer helping to see the Utilities Bill through the Lords, including proposing with Gordon Borrie an amendment which the government became minded to accept to place a limit on the level of fines that the new regulatory authority can impose. I sense that my role is more that of accomplice than objective observer. And the key ringleader, Callum McCarthy, acts as discussant of my chapter. We thus provide an example of collusion that some might think mirrors, but does not attain, the excesses of the Pool arrangement that will soon be consigned to history.

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