Introducing Competition and Deregulating the British Domestic Energy Markets: A Legal and Economic Discussion
CCP Working Paper No. 06-20
24 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2007
Date Written: November 2006
In this article we chart the development of competition and deregulation of the British retail energy markets, explaining the evolution of competitive constraints when consumers are introduced to supplier choice for the first time. In the context of rising real energy prices for consumers, and continued market power on the part of incumbents, we address the quesiton of whether the control of pricing practices through the ex post provisions of the general competition law is sufficient to protect consumers. We also explore the issue of whether reliance solely on these provisions is desirable given the uncertainty which surrounds the application of the Chapter II prohibition (governing abuse of dominance), specifically in respect of price discrimination in final markets. We conclude that the outcome of the liberalisation experiment in terms of delivering benefits for consumers is unclear.
Keywords: Energy markets, deregulation, monopoly, competition, dominance, market power, consumer switching, switching behaviour, price rebalancing, ex post and ex ante regulation
JEL Classification: K21, K23, I38, L12, L41, L51, L94, L95
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation