Is Irish Utility Regulation Failing Consumers?
Over the past decade the energy and communications markets in Ireland, which were traditionally the preserve of State owned monopolies, have been opened up to competition to some extent, largely as a result of EU legislation. This has resulted in changes in the regulatory environment and the establishment of independent regulatory agencies for these industries. The present paper analyses the impact of these changes. It argues that competition, wherever it is possible, is superior to regulation. The paper suggests that policy to date has paid too little attention to measures necessary to promote greater competition and that regulation has failed to protect consumers. The paper concludes that active measures are necessary to promote greater competition in gas, electricity and postal services and that these need to be combined with reforms of the existing regulatory regime.
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