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The restructuring and privatisation of the electricity distribution and supply businesses in England

Author

Listed:
  • Preetum Domah
  • Michael G. Pollitt

Abstract

In December 1990, the 12 regional electricity companies — responsible for the distribution and supply of electricity in England and Wales — were privatised. For the first few years following privatisation, real prices, profits and costs in the industry rose. Following two Price Control Reviews, prices have now fallen sharply and there have been substantial reductions in costs and more recently in profits. This paper attempts to conduct a social cost-benefit analysis of the privatisation by examining actual and predicted falls in costs over the period to 2005. We conclude that the privatisation did yield significant net benefits but that these were unevenly distributed across time and groups in society. Relative to our preferred counterfactual, consumers experience slightly lower prices and the government gains £5 billion in sale proceeds and net taxes. However, consumers begin to gain only from 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • Preetum Domah & Michael G. Pollitt, 2001. "The restructuring and privatisation of the electricity distribution and supply businesses in England," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 107-146, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:22:y:2001:i:1:p:107-146
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/fs/articles/0036a.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chisari, Omar & Estache, Antonio & Romero, Carlos, 1999. "Winners and Losers from the Privatization and Regulation of Utilities: Lessons from a General Equilibrium Model of Argentina," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(2), pages 357-378, May.
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    4. Newbery, David M & Pollitt, Michael G, 1997. "The Restructuring and Privatization of Britain's CEGB--Was It Worth It?," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 269-303, September.
    5. Hogan, William W. & Walton, Steven L., 1994. "A study of the privatisation of the electricity supply industry in England and Wales," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 6(10), pages 73-73, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nillesen , P.H.L. & Pollitt, M.G., 2004. "The Consequences for Consumer Welfare of the 2001-2003 Electricity Distribution Price Review in The Netherlands," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0446, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Andrea Goldstein & José Claudio Linhares Pires, 2006. "Brazilian Regulatory Agencies: Early Appraisal and Looming Challenges," Chapters,in: Regulating Development, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. See, Kok Fong & Coelli, Tim, 2013. "Estimating and decomposing productivity growth of the electricity generation industry in Malaysia: A stochastic frontier analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 207-214.
    4. Nepal, Rabindra & Foster, John, 2015. "Electricity networks privatization in Australia: An overview of the debate," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 12-24.
    5. Fiorio, Carlo V. & Florio, Massimo, 2013. "Electricity prices and public ownership: Evidence from the EU15 over thirty years," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 222-232.
    6. Paul Nillesen & Michael Pollitt, 2007. "The 2001-3 electricity distribution price control review in the Netherlands: regulatory process and consumer welfare," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 261-287, June.
    7. Karahan, Hatice & Toptas, Mehmet, 2013. "The effect of power distribution privatization on electricity prices in Turkey: Has liberalization served the purpose?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 614-621.
    8. Newbery, David M., 2001. "Economic reform in Europe: integrating and liberalizing the market for services," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 85-97, June.
    9. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2011. "The impact of power market reforms on electricity price-cost margins and cross-subsidy levels: A cross country panel data analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1080-1092, March.
    10. Vergés, Joaquim, 2014. "RESULTADOS y consecuencias DE LAS PRIVATIZACIONES de Empresas Públicas: Una perspectiva internacional
      [THE PRIVATISATION OF STATE OWNED ENTERPRISES. RESULTS AND CONSEQUENCES:An international empiri
      ," MPRA Paper 62655, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Mar 2015.
    11. Newbery, D., 2002. "Issues and Options for Restructuring Electricity Supply Industries," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0210, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    12. Pollitt, Michael, 2008. "The arguments for and against ownership unbundling of energy transmission networks," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 704-713, February.
    13. Newbery, David M., 2002. "Problems of liberalising the electricity industry," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 919-927, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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