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British Utility Regulation: Theory, Practice, and Reform

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  • Helm, Dieter

Abstract

The paper considers the design and performance of the new regulatory regime for U.K. utilities. It describes the RPI-X price caps and considers the scope for regulatory discretion and capture. Particular attention is paid to the informational requirements for the determination of prices, the scope for intervention between periods, the independence of regulators, and the promotion of competition. Five arguments for regulatory reform are identified: regulatory arbitrage; capture; administrative costs; investment, sunk costs, and regulatory hold-up; and political instability. A number of reforms are then proposed. These include: merging regulatory bodies; a common set of financial rules; a common basis for efficiency comparisons; and reforming the MMC and judicial review. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Helm, Dieter, 1994. "British Utility Regulation: Theory, Practice, and Reform," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(3), pages 17-39, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:10:y:1994:i:3:p:17-39
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Glachant, Jean-Michel, 1998. "England's wholesale electricity market: could this hybrid institutional arrangement be transposed to the European Union?1," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 63-74, June.
    2. Richard Meade & Seini O’Connor, 2011. "Comparison of Long-term Contracts and Vertical Integration in Decentralized Electricity Markets," Chapters,in: Competition, Contracts and Electricity Markets, chapter 4 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Meade, Richard, 2005. "Ownership vs Regulation in Electricity Reform: The Role of Governance," Working Paper Series 3809, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    4. Andrea Goldstein & Nicoletti Giuseppe, 1996. "Italian Privatizations in International Perspective," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 33(100), pages 425-451.
    5. Meade, Richard, 2005. "Electricity Investment and Security of Supply in Liberalized Electricity Systems," Working Paper Series 3859, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    6. Galiani, Sebastian & Petrecolla, Diego, 1996. "The changing role of the public sector: An ex-post view of the privatization process in Argentina," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 131-152.
    7. Johnstone, Nick & Wood, Libby & Hearne, Robert R., 1999. "The Regulation of Private Sector Participation in Urban Water Supply and Sanitation: Realising Social and Environmental Objectives in Developing Countries," Discussion Papers 24142, International Institute for Environment and Development, Environmental Economics Programme.
    8. World Bank, 2006. "Approaches to Private Participation in Water Services : A Toolkit," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6982.
    9. repec:ver:wpaper:40 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Giovanni Goldoni, 2007. "Un bilancio delle liberalizzazioni dei settori dell’energia elettrica e del gas naturale in Italia e in Europa," Working Papers 40/2007, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    11. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Hideo Kozumi & Noriaki Matsushima, 2009. "Does yardstick regulation really work? Empirical evidence from Japan’s rail industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 308-323, December.
    12. Bruzelius, Nils & Flyvbjerg, Bent & Rothengatter, Werner, 2002. "Big decisions, big risks. Improving accountability in mega projects," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 143-154, April.

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