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The Difficulty to Behave as a (regulated) Natural Monopolist – The Dynamics of Electricity Network Access Charges in Germany 2002 to 2005


  • Thomas Wein

    () (Institute of Economics, Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

  • Heike Wetzel

    () (Institute of Economics, Leuphana University of Lüneburg)


Reviewing the development of network access charges in the German electricity market since 2002 reveals significant variation. While some firms continually increased or decreased their access charges, a variety of firms exhibited discontinuousn behavior with price changes in both directions. From an economic viewpoint this price setting turbulence is astonishing because grid operators are non-contestable natural monopolists, which in this time period were regulated by Negotiated Third Party Access (NTPA). Depending on the e ectiveness or ine ectiveness of NTPA,expected behavior would be either regulated average cost prices or monopoly prices, but not the observed turbulence. Although in 2005 NTPA scheme was replaced by a Regulated Third Party Access (RTPA) scheme with a regulator, an analysis of the factors influencing the price setting behavior within this period o ers valuable information for the new regulator and the still discussed new incentive regulation, which is expected to start in 2009. Using multivariate estimations based on firm data covering the years 2000-2005, we test the hypotheses that asymmetric influence of regulatory threat, di erent cost and price calculation knowledge, strategic use of structural features and the obligation to publish specific access charges have influenced the electricity network access charges in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Wein & Heike Wetzel, 2007. "The Difficulty to Behave as a (regulated) Natural Monopolist – The Dynamics of Electricity Network Access Charges in Germany 2002 to 2005," Working Paper Series in Economics 62, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:lue:wpaper:62

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Christian von Hirschhausen & Thorsten Beckers & Kay Mitusch (ed.), 2004. "Trends in Infrastructure Regulation and Financing," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3389.
    2. Georg Meran & Christian von Hirschhausen, 2004. "Corporate Self-Regulation vs. Ex-Ante Regulation of Network Access: A Model of the German Gas Sector," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 436, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Christian Growitsch & Thomas Wein, 2005. "Negotiated Third Party Access—An Industrial Organisation Perspective," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 165-183, September.
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    Keywords: deregulation; natural monopoly; power industry;

    JEL classification:

    • D42 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Monopoly
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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