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Refining Regulatory Regimes

Utilities in Europe

Edited by David Coen and Adrienne Héritier

With regulation seeking to foster competition at the same time as also having to protect essential services, the authors investigate regulatory styles, costs of new regulatory functions and how firms in the new regulatory landscape access and influence regulatory authorities. The authors consider how EU pressures may hinder or help the functioning of new regulatory markets and the establishment of business–regulator relationships, as well as the broader policy implications for these new regulatory environments. The book also determines how regulatory authorities emerge and evolve under different state traditions and assesses, over time, the degree to which there is potential for convergence, divergence and continued differences as regulatory functions mature.
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Chapter 4: Changing Business–Regulator Relations in German and UK Telecommunication and Energy Sectors

David Coen


David Coen INTRODUCTION In light of the liberalisation of European telecommunication and energy markets, sector-specific regulation has emerged at both the national and the European level to protect consumers against possible monopoly abuse. However, the ‘Europeanisation’ of economic policy has not brought with it a concomitant harmonisation of national regulatory authorities (NRAs) across sectors or countries. When looking at the UK and Germany we are presented with contrasting cases not only in the speed of liberalisation, but also in the style of regulatory management. While independent regulatory agencies dominate in the UK, with distinct and clearly defined functions, the German regime is characterised by a strong emphasis on the role of sector-specific competition law and the procedural courts. With regulators seeking to foster competition while at the same time maintaining essential services in both regimes, we investigate how firms access and influence these emerging NRAs and the policy process, and how firms and regulators manage the day-to-day implementation of regulation. Recognising that post-delegation, NRAs had varying degrees of discretion to establish new business-regulatory norms and independence from government intervention, as well as noting that how business lobbied/dealt with NRAs had serious implications for the emergence of competition and shaping of regulatory powers in the future, we organised 50 interviews with business and regulatory officials (see Appendix for full list). In this study of business-regulatory interaction we sought to answer five key questions. First, how do firms access and influence multiple regulatory authorities at the national and European level? Second, what...

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