Journal Article

Policy Uncertainty and Supply Adequacy in Electric Power Markets

Gert Brunekreeft and Tanga McDaniel

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 111-127
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/gri006
Policy Uncertainty and Supply Adequacy in Electric Power Markets

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This paper examines policy uncertainty adversely affecting investment in the electric power industry, covering generation and network assets. We focus on asymmetric, systematic, non-diversifiable risk with spin-offs. In generation, a key uncertainty is the inability of governments to refrain from intervention if capacity becomes scarce and prices rise. The policy expectations can, in fact, be self-fulfilling. One issue in network investment is that price-cap regulation is less suited to handling market risk than rate-of-return regulation. Another issue is the apparent inability of regulators credibly to commit to pre-announced policy. With increasing importance of new investment, a case can be made that (used-and-useful) rate-of-return regulation will regain territory in the future. Furthermore, improving checks and balances within the structure of regulation should be a focus of policy and good governance.

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Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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