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Vertical integration, separation and non-price discrimination: An empirical analysis of German electricity markets for residential customers

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  • Nikogosian, Vigen
  • Veith, Tobias

Abstract

The literature on vertical integration in markets with regulated upstream prices suggests that the integrated upstream firm might engage in non-price discrimination. Several studies provide policy recommendations derived either from case study approaches or based on theoretical modeling which addresses the unbundling issue. In this study we analyze the impact of vertical integration of retail incumbent and network operator on retail prices and upstream charges. As the vertical structure is heterogeneous across the 850 German electricity submarkets for residential customers (there exist legally unbundled, vertically integrated or fully separated firms), we use firm level data to analyze the effects of different vertical structures and regulation schemes on retail electricity prices. We find significantly higher prices in markets with vertically integrated firms compared to markets with fully separated firms. This finding could indicate non-price discrimination. Furthermore, we find no evidence that legal unbundling eliminates the incentives for non-price discrimination because the prices do not differ from prices in markets under vertical integration.

Suggested Citation

  • Nikogosian, Vigen & Veith, Tobias, 2011. "Vertical integration, separation and non-price discrimination: An empirical analysis of German electricity markets for residential customers," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-069, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11069
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ruester, Sophia & Schwenen, Sebastian & Batlle, Carlos & Pérez-Arriaga, Ignacio, 2014. "From distribution networks to smart distribution systems: Rethinking the regulation of European electricity DSOs," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 229-237.
    2. Nikogosian, Vigen & Weigand, Jürgen, 2012. "Forward integration and market entry: Evidence from natural gas markets for household customers in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-062, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Hunold, Matthias & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Licht, Georg & Nikogosian, Vigen & Stenzel, André & Ullrich, Hannes & Wolf, Christoph, 2011. "Modernisierung der Konzentrationsberichterstattung: Endbericht," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110525, April.
    4. Glachant, Jean-Michel & Ruester, Sophia, 2014. "The EU internal electricity market: Done forever?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 1-7.
    5. Jean-Michel Glachant & Sophia Ruester, 2013. "The EU Internal Electricity Market: Done Forever?," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/66, European University Institute.
    6. Glachant, Jean-Michel & Ruester, Sophia, 2014. "The EU internal electricity market: Done forever?," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 221-228.
    7. Claire Bergaentzlé, 2012. "Particularités d'adoption des compteurs intelligents au Royaume-Uni et en Allemagne : entre marchés de comptage libéralisé et règles à mettre en place pour un réel smart grid intégré," Post-Print halshs-00793322, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    electricity; regulation; vertical integration; legal and total unbundling; non-price discrimination;

    JEL classification:

    • L1 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • L9 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities

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