The Liberalisation of the Energy Sector in the European Union
The energy sector covers the coal, oil, gas and electricity sector. The European coal and oil sector have already been liberalised in the past. The current debate concerns mainly the electricity and the gas sector. In this paper we will concentrate on the electricity sector for three reasons. First, the sector is more important in terms of value added, secondly it is considered to be more complex and, finally, the opening of the electricity market precedes that of the gas market. Obviously, this does not mean that the gas sector should not be studied as there are many challenges left. In section II, we discuss the institutional background for the liberalisation. Section III then analyses the British experience. This is of interest because the UK has liberalised its market about 10 years ago and this experience has been the subject of extensive economic research. In the sections IV to VII, we focus on the four main problems in the liberalisation of the European electricity market: the stranded costs issue, the cross-subsidies issue, the pricing of transmission and the regulation of the environment. Finally, section VIII concludes.
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