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.


John Mogg Sir

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


Supply security in electricity and natural gas markets 117 CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS Sir John Mogg Notwithstanding that Paul is a non-executive director of National Grid Transco (NGT), there’s no such thing as regulatory capture. I admit to blushing on behalf of my predecessors for the accolades that Paul has rained upon the UK regulatory framework. His opening remarks that it sets an international gold standard for gas and electricity, within a liberalised context, are very flattering. It would not be surprising that I welcome and support the general thesis, notably that there is no inherent conflict between having a liberalised markets regime and security of supply. We are at a crucial moment notably, winter 2006, the severity of the weather is unknown but the position is perhaps better than in 2005. But Paul made the important caveat, about the devil being in the detail; that you need to have crucially an appropriate set of market rules; an appropriate industry structure, and regulatory institutions to manage the process. Non-intervention requires the right sort of structure. Among the case studies, that of New Jersey made me freeze with anxiety. My view is of a practical regulator, with the experience of our tiny blackouts just a few weeks before I took over, and how we have benefited from those, fortunately very rare events – to deliver the National Grid’s transmission record, which is 99.99999 per cent of security confidence. We must learn from what happened and how that could be avoided. But...

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