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.


Richard Feasey

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


226 Utility regulation in competitive markets CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS Richard Feasey Ed gives a characteristically fluent and persuasive account of Ofcom’s activities to date and their approach to this formidable set of issues. It occurs to me that if you were to do a scorecard on Ofcom and the management approach that has been described, at least so far, as an interim scorecard, then you might make a couple of points. I have seven I want to run through very briefly on reflections on Ofcom and what is different. The first is just the calibre of senior management in regulators, and particularly in Ofcom, sets the benchmark and demonstrates that you really get what you pay for in regulation, and given the formidable set of challenges that Ofcom faces as an institution, certainly for companies like mine, complaints about the direct costs of regulation are pretty trivial and trivial in comparison with the indirect costs of people getting it wrong. The second thing that strikes me in observing Ofcom is that the relationship between the regulator and the various regulated groups is a bit less cosy, and there are fewer favoured constituents than there were in the past when we had vertically organised regulation between the radio communications agency, the Independent Television Commission (ITC), and the other regulators and their various constituencies. In general a degree of distancing between the regulator and regulatees as we move towards more horizontal markets is a welcome development, and we see that...

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