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Does Liberalisation cause more Electricity Blackouts? Evidence from a Global Study of Newspaper Reports

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  • Yu, W.
  • Pollitt, M.G.

Abstract

There is a public perception that electricity liberalisation is the major cause of recent electricity blackouts. This is reflected in the newspaper reporting of blackouts. By contrast, it was not listed as a cause in any official investigation reports. In this paper, we examine the common causes of a number of large blackouts worldwide by applying the qualitative content analysis technique to different investigation reports. We generate a regional blackout dataset, spanning European, Latin American and Asian regions, by using news articles derived from the Factiva database. We use the random effects model and sample means techniques in a detailed examination of the effect of liberalisation and regional factors on the number of ‘small’ electricity blackouts between 1998 and 2007. The results indicate that, contrary to what we might expect, liberalisation does not have a significant statistical effect on the frequency of small blackouts. The perception that there is an increase in the number of blackouts after liberalisation seems to be shaped by the media’s reporting of individual ‘large’ incidents rather than the number of incidents reported.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, W. & Pollitt, M.G., 2009. "Does Liberalisation cause more Electricity Blackouts? Evidence from a Global Study of Newspaper Reports," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0911, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:0911
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    2. Hunt., Julian David & Stilpen, Daniel & de Freitas, Marcos Aurélio Vasconcelos, 2018. "A review of the causes, impacts and solutions for electricity supply crises in Brazil," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 208-222.
    3. Bensch, Gunther, 2019. "The effects of market-based reforms on access to electricity in developing countries: a systematic review," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 165-188.
    4. Karim L. Anaya & Michael G. Pollitt, 2014. "Does Weather Have an Impact on Electricity Distribution Efficiency? Evidence from South America," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1424, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Xuemei Zhenga & Flavio Menezes & Rabindra Nepal, 2020. "In Between the State and the Market: An Empirical Assessment of the Early Achievements of China’s 2015 Electricity Reform," Discussion Papers Series 633, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    6. Daisy Shen & Qing Yang, . "Electricity Market Regulatory Reform and Competition – Case Study of the New Zealand Electricity Market," Chapters, in: Yanrui Wu & Xunpeng Shi & Fukunari Kimura (ed.), Energy Market Integration in East Asia: Theories, Electricity Sector and Subsidies, chapter 6, pages 103-140, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
    7. Sylvia Gaylord & Kathleen J. Hancock, 2013. "Developing world: national energy strategies," Chapters, in: Hugh Dyer & Maria Julia Trombetta (ed.), International Handbook of Energy Security, chapter 10, pages 206-236, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Farshchian, Ghazaleh & Darestani, Soroush Avakh & Hamidi, Naser, 2021. "Developing a decision-making dashboard for power losses attributes of Iran’s electricity distribution network," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 216(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    power outage; electricity blackouts; liberalisation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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