A Cross-country Comparison
Edited by Jean-Michael Glachant and Dominique Finon
Chapter 2: Electricity in England and Wales: Efficiency and Equity
2. Electricity in England and Wales: eﬃciency and equity Gordon MacKerron INTRODUCTION This chapter looks at the experience of the UK electricity supply industry since 1990 and asks questions about its future evolution. The industry has been in a process of almost continuous reinvention ever since the large structural changes of 1990. In the later 1990s and 2000 there have also been modiﬁcations to the original policy objectives, which were mostly concerned with promoting economic eﬃciency. Greater attention to objectives of equity and environmental protection has been characteristic of the late 1990s, and a major reform of the wholesale trading system took place in April 2001. An important part of the forward look in this chapter is, therefore, to examine the ways in which these new developments, especially potential conﬂicts between eﬃciency and equity, may play out in the future. The wider signiﬁcance of the changes in the UK has not been that they were either the ﬁrst or, in all areas, the most radical. They were certainly radical enough in relation to past European practice. But their signiﬁcance is also that they have been extremely inﬂuential in shaping reform processes elsewhere, including the European Union. Beyond Western Europe, places as diverse as Colombia, Ukraine and Orissa (India) have been deeply inﬂuenced by the ‘UK’ model, especially via the strong British consultancy industry. The successes and failures of the English experience are therefore of special international signiﬁcance. BACKGROUND: THE SHAPE...
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