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

See all articles by Michael Harker

Michael Harker

Univeristy of East Anglia - Norwich Law School - ESRC Centre for Competition Policy

Catherine Waddams Price

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Management

Date Written: November 2006

Abstract

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

Harker, Michael and Price, Catherine Waddams, Introducing Competition and Deregulating the British Domestic Energy Markets: A Legal and Economic Discussion (November 2006). CCP Working Paper No. 06-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=964002 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.964002

Michael Harker

Univeristy of East Anglia - Norwich Law School - ESRC Centre for Competition Policy ( email )

Norwich NR4 7TJ, Norfolk
United Kingdom

Catherine Waddams Price (Contact Author)

University of East Anglia (UEA) - School of Management ( email )

Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

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