Utility Regulation in Competitive Markets

Utility Regulation in Competitive Markets

Problems and Progress

Edited by Colin Robinson

This significant new volume contains incisive chapters on a number of prominent concerns, including changes in the British system of utility regulation, the spectrum allocation question, liberalisation of EU energy markets, security of supply issues, reform in the European postal sector, the future of rail regulation, the cost of capital and Ofcom’s strategic approach to regulation. Chapters on each topic are followed by comments from regulators, competition authority chairmen and other experts in the relevant fields. By confronting the most important international developments in utility regulation, the authors offer practical policy recommendations for an effective way forward.


Philip Lowe

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


European energy liberalisation 77 CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS Philip Lowe Jorge Vasconcelos indicated towards the end of his chapter that we are living in one of the largest interconnected energy markets in the world. But at the beginning, he quite clearly pointed to the lack of progress in creating that market. In reality, every single competition authority in the European Union at present bases its competition assessment on a national market definition, despite the existence of the energy directives going in the direction of a single market. Why? Because the barriers to entry are still there, because we do not see, for example, interconnection being created in a time period which allows agreements, mergers and other transactions to take place without potential exploitation of consumers. Jorge emphasised very clearly that the liberalisation process in the EU is necessarily linked to market integration. If we do not get wider markets in the EU, then we will not get the vaunted benefits of liberalisation. He rightly pointed out that of course we are doing this in an environment of law and politics, in which there is no power or capacity to impose a privatisation process. The liberalisation process in the EU has been completed in legal terms, respecting the possibility of public ownership of firms on the market, at whichever stage of the vertical chain they are. This has posed challenges which have partly been met, such as the capacity to combat critics who said that liberalisation of these markets was incompatible...

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