Is an in-depth energy market inquiry worth it?

March 27, 2014

(by Catherine Waddams) The decision to refer the energy market to the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be welcomed by many but will also have costs. On the positive side, the opportunity for a thorough review of the market enables analysis without immediate political pressure, either directly on the market or on the regulator. It is important to restore public confidence in the market, either by giving it a clean bill of health, or identifying any problems and remedying them. Read the rest of this entry »

A Simple Way to Boost Competition in the Energy Market

November 8, 2013

(by Andreas Stephan) The latest round of increases in energy prices has sparked an angry debate about how well competition is working in the UK market. Energy companies claim increases reflect rising wholesale prices and government levies, while politicians are making allegations of collusion. A long term view of how to make the energy market more competitive for consumers has been drowned out by political point scoring. Yet there may be a simple way of jump starting greater competitive pressures against the relentless price rises. Read the rest of this entry »

Should Competition Law Apply to Markets where No Firm Dominates and there are No Illegal Agreements?

April 9, 2011

(by Bruce Lyons) The UK competition regime has a powerful weapon that is available to almost no other country.  It can investigate markets that appear not to be working competitively despite the lack of a dominant firm, then choose to impose remedies ranging from structural divestments to legally binding behavioural commitments.  Other regimes, including the European Commission, can choose to investigate markets, but none can impose such powerful remedies (except Israel, which recently replicated the UK model).  The UK government regards this as one of the key strengths of its competition regime.  Is it?  And would it benefit from major reform? Read the rest of this entry »


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