The electricity supply industry is highly capital-intensive, whose success depends critically upon the management of its investment. In most developing countries investment is poorly managed, poorly maintained, and often inadequate. Inadequate regulation or political control lead to low prices that undermine the finance of investment and give poor incentives for management and operation. The paper argues that regulation must be carefully designed to provide efficient incentives and adequate guarantees to sustain investment and operations and only then will privatisation improve performance and benefit consumers. The paper discusses the evidence for these claims, the circumstances required for full unbundling and liberalisation to be successful, and those where the Single Buyer Model or continued, ideally reformed, state ownership, may be preferable, at least until conditions improve
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