Utilities Law Review - Volume 19 - Issue 2

Benefitting business without harming households: the impact on consumers of upstream market reforms in the water sector
Janet Wright  Sladen Wright Associates Ltd and Professor Martin Cave Imperial College Business School

The UK Government's 2011 Water White Paper sets out a programme of economic reform for the sector which includes the introduction of retail competition for businesses in England and the development of upstream competition in the abstraction of water, its trading in raw or treated form, and in the provision of some physical infrastructure. The paper considers different ways in which upstream competition can be introduced. These are shown to depend upon how competition is structured, including such matters as whether competing upstream providers can contract directly with retailers and large customers or whether they have to sell to a single wholesaler which is the sole supplier of water to retailers in its area. It will also depend upon the regime for pricing access to the distribution network. These same factors, and others, will determine how different groups are affected by competition. Upstream competition should raise productivity, which will benefit all customers in the medium term, but domestic customers in general, or some subsets of them, might be adversely affected in the short run. The paper discusses how these effects can be mitigated by appropriate regulatory action.

EU- Mediterranean Cooperation on Renewable Energy Sources: the National Strategies of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco
Ernesto Bonafé
Florence School of Regulation

The EU-Mediterranean cooperation on renewable energy sources (RES) is assumed by the EU institutions as a matter of fact. Indeed, a partnership in this field is a key element of the EU strategy to achieve binding renewable targets in a future scenario of a decarbonised energy sector, as well as to ensure security of supply and complete the internal market. Yet, energy policy is a shared competence between the EU and its Member States. The new Lisbon Treaty contains a clause stating that the measures of the new European energy policy shall not affect a Member State?s right to determine the structure, choices and conditions of their national energy mix. The expression of national sovereignty in energy is even more evident and straightforward in Southern Mediterranean countries, since they are not members of a supranational structure like the EU, and therefore their decisions in the energy sector must pursue the legitimate national interest. In this context, the future cooperation on promotion and trade of electricity from RES between the EU and Southern Mediterranean countries requires national energy policies to be compatible and coherent with one another. This article looks into RES energy strategies of Algeria, Egypt and Morocco, whose RES targets are the most ambitious in the region. The three countries have undertaken important legal, institutional and market reforms. The sector restructuring is largely founded on the huge potential of wind and solar energy, which is also expected to be a lever for industrial and economic development.

Market Entry in China's Water Supply Concessions: From a Comparative Study with the UN and EU
Wei Yan
Law School of Shanghai University, China

The public policy on concessions is dedicated to promote competition in natural monopolies. In this article, the author examines the water supply concession experiences of China to identify the current market structure and the concessionaire selection practice. Through investigations, the author notes the domestic and international explanations for the restricted competition and contends that there is the necessity to distinguish the SOE model from pure concessions in market entry. The legal institutional response to this phenomenon requires transparency and due process in concessionaire selection.