Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The liberalization of energy markets in Europe and Italy

Contents:

Author Info

  • Michele Polo
  • Carlo Scarpa

Abstract

In this paper we review the recent liberalization process in energy markets promoted by the European Commission in the late Nineties and implemented in all the member countries. The electricity and gas industries are characterized by a predominant role of network infrastructures, and by upstream and downstream segments that can be opened to competition. The key issues that must be addressed to design a liberalization plan include the horizontal and vertical structure of the industry, the access to the transport facilities, the organization of a wholesale market and the development of competition in the liberalized segments. We analyze the liberalization policies in the EU as a two step approach: the Directives and the national liberalization plans have focussed so far on the goal of creating a level playing field for newcomers through Third Party Access to the network infrastructure, the unbundling of monopolized from competitive activites of the incumbent and the opening of demand. Today, within a heterogeneous picture, all the member countries are implementing this phase. The second step refers to the development of a competitive environment in the liberalized markets, a goal that requires, but is not implied by, the creation of fair entry conditions to new comers. The reduction of market power of the incumbent the through divestitures and the entry process, and the design of the market rules are the crucial issues, and neither the Directives nor the Directives not the national plans have been in most cases very effective on this issue. As a result, while we can start appreciating the entry of new operators in both the electricity and the gas industry, the effects on consumers choice and final prices are rather limited, in particular in the gas industry. In the second part of the paper we move our attention to the Italian case, describing the national liberalization plans and the policy issues still opened. Both the electricity and the gas reforms are now more advanced than the minimum standards required by the Directives, and include in some cases interesting innovations. In particular, the Bersani Decree on electricity requires capacity divestitures in the generation plans and adopts a proprietary unbundling of the transport network, while the Letta Decree on gas introduces antitrust ceilings and a very quick schedule towards complete demand opening. Among the more relevant open issues, in the electricity industry the incumbent firm can maintain a market share of 50% in generation, with likely distortions in the wholesale market. There are two possible ways out of this central problem: a "market solution" that requires further reductions in the generation capacity of the dominant firm and an improvement in transborder interconnection capacity together with the start up of the wholesale market; an "administrative solution" that tries to limit the effects of the incumbent market power on prices by assigning the foreign low cost energy to some categories of (large)customers and introducing bid caps on prices, while delaying the opening of the wholesale market. It is not clear which choice has been made by the Government, even if the latter emerges from many recent decisions. In the gas industry the insufficient unbundling of the dominant firm is the most serious obstacle to developing competition. The antitrust ceilings may even determine perverse effects, with the new firms acting as (upstream)customers and (downstream) competitors of the dominant firm. Moreover, the access to international transmission capacity seems a crucial issue. Finally, the nature of competition with take-or-pay contracts suggests that a wholesale market for gas would be necessary. The last open issues are institutional: we argue that the recent assignment of the energy policy at the regional level and the prospected reduction of independence of the energy authority are two institutional reforms with a very negative impact on the liberalization process.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.uni-bocconi.it/wp/2003/230.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 230.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:230

Contact details of provider:
Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)
Phone: 0039-02-58363301
Fax: 0039-02-58363302
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm

Related research

Keywords:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Compte, Olivier & Jenny, Frederic & Rey, Patrick, 2002. "Capacity constraints, mergers and collusion," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
  2. Polo Michele, 2002. "Le Autorità indipendenti: un'analisi economica e una proposta di riordino," Analisi Giuridica dell'Economia, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 369-384.
  3. Giovanni Fraquelli & Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2004. "Scope and scale economies in multi-utilities: evidence from gas, water and electricity combinations," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(18), pages 2045-2057.
  4. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. repec:mop:credwp:05.07.59 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Creti, Anna & Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2004. "Long-term contracts and take-or-pay clauses in natural gas Markets," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5372, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Laura DELPONTE & Maddalena SORRENTINO & Matteo TURRI & Daniela VANDONE, 2013. "The transformation of Milan's city energy enterprise in a leading national industrial group," CIRIEC Working Papers 1303, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
  4. Polo, Michele & Scarpa, Carlo, 2013. "Liberalizing the gas industry: Take-or-pay contracts, retail competition and wholesale trade," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 64-82.
  5. Michele Polo & Carlo Scarpa, 2003. "Entry Without Competition," Working Papers 245, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Scarpa, Carlo & Polo, Michele, 2007. "Take or Pay Contracts and Market Segmentation," MPRA Paper 5861, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:230. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.