Energy Policy: The Return of the Regulatory State

15 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2016

See all articles by Colin Robinson

Colin Robinson

University of Surrey - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 2016


Energy is regulated by the state in most countries. The United Kingdom had a period, around the turn of the present century, when traditional regulation was reduced and the energy sector was exposed to market forces, but there has since been reversion to the regulatory norm. The recent history of energy policy, especially as it concerns electricity generation, is examined and the stated reasons for having such a policy are discussed: for example, enhancing security of supply, avoiding the effects of fossil fuel price increases and combating future climate change and its effects. These reasons are found to lack substance and a case is made for moving away from centralised action, returning to a much more competitive market with less government intervention.

Keywords: climate change, competitive markets, energy history, energy policy, security

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Colin, Energy Policy: The Return of the Regulatory State (February 2016). Economic Affairs, Vol. 36, Issue 1, pp. 33-47, 2016, Available at SSRN: or

Colin Robinson (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - Department of Economics ( email )

Surrey GU2 7XH
United Kingdom
+44 1483 682782 (Phone)
+44 1483 689548 (Fax)

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