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Divorce comes at a price: An ex ante welfare analysis of ownership unbundling of the distribution and commercial companies in the Dutch energy sector

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  • de Nooij, Michiel
  • Baarsma, Barbara

Abstract

Vertical unbundling in the electricity sector is a hot political topic in the European Union. The European Commission has decided that the ownership unbundling of transmission networks from other stages in the value chain is the most effective way to ensure fair network access and infrastructure investment. While this European unbundling debate has not ended yet and most countries still do not have an independent transmission system operator (TSO), the Dutch government has already taken one step further. In 2008, it decided that distribution companies should be completely separated from commercial activities that are part of the same holding (generation, trade and supply). This governmental decision has been fiercely debated. Although the goal is to improve competition as well as security of supply, these benefits are uncertain. Nevertheless, it is certain that ownership unbundling comes at a cost. In this paper we present an ex ante cost-benefit analysis of the Dutch unbundling act. We conclude that it is unlikely that this act is welfare enhancing: divorce comes at a price.

Suggested Citation

  • de Nooij, Michiel & Baarsma, Barbara, 2009. "Divorce comes at a price: An ex ante welfare analysis of ownership unbundling of the distribution and commercial companies in the Dutch energy sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5449-5458, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:12:p:5449-5458
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    Cited by:

    1. Roland Meyer, 2011. "Vertical Economies and the Costs of Separating Electricity Supply-A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Literature," Bremen Energy Working Papers 0006, Bremen Energy Research.
    2. Tanrisever, Fehmi & Derinkuyu, Kursad & Jongen, Geert, 2015. "Organization and functioning of liberalized electricity markets: An overview of the Dutch market," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1363-1374.
    3. de Nooij, Michiel, 2011. "Social cost-benefit analysis of electricity interconnector investment: A critical appraisal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 3096-3105, June.
    4. Marius Buchmann, 2016. "Information Management in Smart Grids - Who Should Govern Information Management to Balance Between Coordination and Competition on the Distribution Grid Level?," Bremen Energy Working Papers 0022, Bremen Energy Research.
    5. Tanrisever, Fehmi & Derinkuyu, Kursad & Heeren, Michael, 2013. "Forecasting electricity infeed for distribution system networks: An analysis of the Dutch case," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 247-257.
    6. Tsatsos, Aristidis, 2012. "Die Liberalisierung des russischen Gassektors: 3 Szenarios?
      [The liberalisation of the Russian gas sector: 3 scenarios?]
      ," MPRA Paper 44623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mulder, M. & Willems, Bert, 2016. "Competition in Retail Electricity Markets : An Assessment of Ten Years Dutch Experience," Discussion Paper 2016-011, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    8. Filippini, Massimo & Wetzel, Heike, 2014. "The impact of ownership unbundling on cost efficiency: Empirical evidence from the New Zealand electricity distribution sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 412-418.
    9. Milan Vondráček & Tomáš Skuček, 2010. "Unbundling costs in the energy sector: competitive environment for the customers´ benefits or too costly experiment?," Ekonomika a Management, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2010(3).
    10. Brunekreeft, Gert, 2015. "Network unbundling and flawed coordination: Experience from the electricity sector," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 11-18.
    11. Roland Meyer, 2012. "Vertical Economies and the Costs of Separating Electricity Supply--A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Literature," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
    12. Buchmann, Marius, 2017. "Governance of data and information management in smart distribution grids: Increase efficiency by balancing coordination and competition," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 63-72.

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