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Mechanisms of funding for Universal Service Obligations: the electricity case


  • Mirabel, Francois
  • Poudou, Jean-Christophe


The transition towards a more competitive regime in network industries (and specially in electricity sector) raises the relevant question of funding for the Universal Service Obligations (USOs). Our paper focuses on two ways of funding for universal service and equal treatment obligations (Ubiquity and Non Discrimination constraints): the funding through access charge (CS regime) or taxation (T regime). Using a network model including competition between an historical monopoly (in charge for the USOs) and an entrant, we obtain some results concerning gains and losses of social welfare due to those mechanisms. We show that most of the time it is socially better to let the historical monopoly be active whatever the type of funding for USOs applying, and whatever profitability of the firms is. However, when the entrant is active, we can highlight that the introduction of the T regime (compared to the CS one) implies either welfare deterioration or an entry prevention strategy by the historical Þrm. Therefore, the T regime could not be an argument for the regulator to promote vertical separation of the historical firm (according to the European community line).
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Suggested Citation

  • Mirabel, Francois & Poudou, Jean-Christophe, 2004. "Mechanisms of funding for Universal Service Obligations: the electricity case," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 801-823, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:26:y:2004:i:5:p:801-823

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Philippe Choné & Laurent Flochel & Anne Perrot, 1999. "Allocating and Funding Universal Service Obligations in a Competitive Network Market," Working Papers 99-55, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    2. David, L. & Mirabel, F., 2000. "Structure du marche gazier americain, reglementation et tarification de l'acces des tiers au reseau," Cahiers du CREDEN (CREDEN Working Papers) 00.06.17, CREDEN (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit de l'Energie), Faculty of Economics, University of Montpellier 1.
    3. Madet, C. & Mirabel, F. & Poudou, J.-C. & Roland, M., 2004. "Funding Universal Service Obligations with an Essential Facility: Charges vs. Taxes and Subsidies," Cahiers du CREDEN (CREDEN Working Papers) 04.07.47, CREDEN (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit de l'Energie), Faculty of Economics, University of Montpellier 1.
    4. Mark Armstrong, 2001. "Access Pricing, Bypass, and Universal Service," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 297-301, May.
    5. Armstrong, Mark & Doyle, Chris & Vickers, John, 1996. "The Access Pricing Problem: A Synthesis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 131-150, June.
    6. repec:crs:wpaper:9955 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. H. Cremer & F. Gasmi & A. Grimaud & J. J. Laffont, 2001. "Universal Service: An economic perspective," Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(1), pages 5-43, March.
    8. Anton, James J & Vander Weide, James H & Vettas, Nikolaos, 1998. "Strategic Pricing and Entry under Universal Service and Cross-Market Price Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 1922, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Chone, Philippe & Flochel, Laurent & Perrot, Anne, 2002. "Allocating and funding universal service obligations in a competitive market," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(9), pages 1247-1276, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mirabel, F. & Poudou, J.-C. & Roland, M., 2009. "Universal service obligations: The role of subsidization schemes," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-9, February.
    2. Silvia Concettini & Anna Créti, 2013. "Liberalization of electricity retailing in Europe: coming back or going forth?," Working Papers hal-00915924, HAL.
    3. Favard, P. & Mirabel, F. & Poudou, J.-C., 2002. "Funding for Universal Service Obligations in Electricity Sector : the case of green power development," Cahiers du CREDEN (CREDEN Working Papers) 02.07.33, CREDEN (Centre de Recherche en Economie et Droit de l'Energie), Faculty of Economics, University of Montpellier 1.
    4. Luo, Guo-liang & Guo, Yi-wei, 2013. "Rural electrification in China: A policy and institutional analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 320-329.
    5. Poudou Jean-Christophe & Roland Michel & Thomas Lionel, 2009. "Universal Service Obligations and Competition with Asymmetric Information," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D4 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy


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