Essays in Honour of Colin Robinson
Edited by Lester C. Hunt
Chapter 1: Electricity and gas regulation in Great Britain: the end of an era
1. Electricity and gas regulation in Great Britain: the end of an era 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...
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