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Introducing Competition and Deregulating the British Domestic Energy Markets: a Legal and Economic Discussion

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  • Michael Harker

    ()
    (Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia)

  • Catherine Waddams Price

    ()
    (Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia)

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    Abstract

    In this article we chart the development of competition and deregulation of the British retail energy markets, explaining the evolution of competitive constraints when consumers are introduced to supplier choice for the first time. In the context of rising real energy prices for consumers, and continued market power on the part of the incumbents, we address the question of whether the control of pricing practices through the ex post provisions of the general competition law is sufficient to protect consumers. We also explore the issue of whether reliance solely on these provisions is desirable given the uncertainty which surrounds the application of the Chapter II prohibition (governing abuse of dominance), specifically in respect of price discrimination in final markets. We conclude that the outcome of the liberalisation experiment in terms of delivering benefits for consumers is unclear.

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    File URL: http://www.ccp.uea.ac.uk/publicfiles/workingpapers/CCP06-20.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia in its series Working Papers with number 06-20.

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    Length: 24 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ccp:wpaper:wp06-20

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    Related research

    Keywords: Energy markets; deregulation; monopoly; competition; dominance; market power; consumer switching; switching behaviour; price rebalancing; ex post and ex ante regulation;

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