International Comparisons of Electricity Regulation
This book offers a most comprehensive characterization of the historical, institutional and economic forces affecting electricity regulation. Eminent economists organized by the University of California Energy Institute survey the USA, UK, Scandinavia, Latin America, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, New Zealand and Yugoslavia. Recent experiments with privatization, competition and restructuring in electricity are contrasted with instances where government ownership and traditional vertical integration still dominate. The introductory essay by Richard J. Gilbert, Edward P. Kahn and David Newbery synthesizes individual country studies. In any regulatory system, the government must bargain with investors and consumers to satisfy conflicting interests. The opacity of information about cost constrains this process. Governments also impose multiple political and economic objectives on the electricity industry, which further obscures cost conditions. Privatization and deregulation tend to reverse these effects. Few countries, however, have managed to sustain private ownership in the long run.