Electricity Prices as Signals for the Evaluation of Reforms: An Empirical Analysis of Four European Countries
This paper looks at price trends as signals for the evaluation of utility reforms. A specific example is considered: electricity prices in four countries, namely France, Germany, Italy and UK. These countries offer a natural experiment in different patterns of public/private ownership and liberalisation of electricity industry. Electricity prices are mainly influenced by the mix of energy inputs, their costs, and by consumption per capita. Under different institutional settings, prices for business users are often more cost-reflective than prices for residential users. Beyond these common features, the evidence does not support the view that there is clear dominance of one industry pattern in terms of welfare change for the representative consumer. This conclusion tends to question the widely held idea that one specific 'orthodox' reform should be preferred: privatisation with liberalisation and vertical disintegration. Utility reforms should be flexible and country-specific.
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Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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