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Charges, Costs and Market Power: the Deregulated UK Electricity Retail Market

  • Evens Salies and Catherine Waddams Price

The residential UK electricity market was opened for the first time in 1999, introducing choice of supplier, and about 40 percent of households changed supplier in the first four years. After three years price caps were removed. We review this process and assess the competitiveness of the market by examining how the charges levied by suppliers depend on cost and demand factors for three different payment methods and consumption levels. We also identify signs of additional market power of incumbency and the effect of levying a tariff with no fixed charge. We find that both cost and demand factors affect charges, and the relationship varies for different payment methods and consumption levels; and that tariffs with no fixed element have different effects for different payment methods. We also conclude that considerable market power seems to remain with potentially adverse distributional effects.

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Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

Volume (Year): Volume 25 (2004)
Issue (Month): Number 3 ()
Pages: 19-36

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2004v25-03-a02
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  1. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  2. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  3. Otero, Jesus & Waddams Price, Catherine, 2001. "Price Discrimination, Regulation and Entry in the UK Residential Electricity Market," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 161-75, July.
  4. Monica Giulietti & Catherine Waddams Price & Michael Waterson, 2005. "Consumer Choice and Competition Policy: a Study of UK Energy Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 949-968, October.
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