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Vertical Economies and the Costs of Separating Electricity Supply-A Review of Theoretical and Empirical Literature

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  • Roland Meyer

Abstract

Motivated by the European movement towards a separation of electricity networks from the competitive functions generation and supply this paper reviews theoretical and empirical literature on vertical synergies in electricity supply. In the analysis a clear distinction is made between four different unbundling options leading to different forms and magnitudes of synergy losses. Apart from coordination economies a main source of scope economies seems to result from a market risk effect if generation and retail are separated. Accordingly, the European policy of network unbundling (either transmission or distribution) results in synergy losses between 2 and 5 percent due to coordination losses, while an unbundling option that includes a separation between retail and generation, as observed in some U.S. states, may lead to a permanent cost increase of 15 percent and more due to a significant risk increase.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bei:00bewp:0006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Machiel Mulder & Victoria Shestalova & Mark Lijesen, 2005. "Vertical separation of the energy-distribution industry; an assessment of several options for unbundling," CPB Document 84, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    2. Beard, T Randolph & Kaserman, David L & Mayo, John W, 2001. "Regulation, Vertical Integration and Sabotage," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-333, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Jara-Diaz, Sergio & Ramos-Real, Francisco Javier & Martinez-Budria, Eduardo, 2004. "Economies of integration in the Spanish electricity industry using a multistage cost function," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 995-1013, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nepal, Rabindra & Jamasb, Tooraj, 2012. "Reforming small electricity systems under political instability: The case of Nepal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 242-251.

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    Keywords

    ownership unbundling; vertical integration; economies of scope;

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