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Energy in a Competitive Market

Essays in Honour of Colin Robinson

Edited by Lester C. Hunt

This fine collection of original essays is in recognition of Colin Robinson, who has been at the forefront of thinking in energy economics for over 30 years. Energy in a Competitive Market brings together both prominent academics and practitioners to honour his outstanding and unique contribution. The authors cover a wide and fascinating selection of topics incorporating the whole spectrum of energy economics. In doing so, they examine the belief that markets are the key to the effective allocation of resources, a notion which arguably applies as much to energy as it does to any other commodity.
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Chapter 1: Electricity and gas regulation in Great Britain: the end of an era

Eileen Marshall


Eileen Marshall INTRODUCTION Gas and electricity regulation in Great Britain is poised to change in fundamental ways which can be seen as the end of one era and the beginning of another. It is not possible to cover all aspects of the regulatory regime – instead this chapter focuses on three significant changes. First, competition in the retail supply of gas and electricity to all customers, large and small, is becoming well established. It can be envisaged in the foreseeable future that sector-specific price regulation of these activities will be removed, with reliance being placed instead on general competition legislation to deal with any remaining concerns. Second, the electricity wholesale trading arrangements are due to undergo radical reform with the existing spot market – ‘the Pool’ – being replaced by more market-based arrangements, which have become known as the new electricity trading arrangements (NETA). Third, the Utilities Act 2000 will amend the pre-privatization regulatory regimes for the gas and electricity industries, as set out in the Gas Act 1986 and the Electricity Act 1989. RETAIL SUPPLY COMPETITION Gas From an unpromising start retail supply competition in gas has come a long way. The Gas Act 1986 allowed competitors to contract to supply gas to very large industrial customers (consuming over 25,000 therms per year) using British Gas pipelines, and gave the Director General of Gas Supply (DGGS) the power to settle terms for use of the British Gas network if the parties involved failed to agree. The act did not...

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