(P39) Electricity Regulation in Developing Countries
Emmanuelle Mathieu, Lecturer, University of Lausanne
Jacint Jordana, Director, Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI)
In the global south, electricity is both a crucial and a particularly challenging sector. Fueled by an accelerated industrialization process and the changing patterns of domestic consumption of an enlarging middle class, electricity demand is booming in developing countries. To sustain this growing demand, electricity production capacities, transmission and distribution infrastructure must be significantly expanded every year. How can this huge challenge be addressed? What kind of policies can help this process? In particular, how can regulation and regulatory institutions (i.e. independent regulatory agencies) contribute to it?
The development of electricity infrastructure is not only an economic question; it is also has an important social dimension. The electrification of rural areas an important leverage for geographical equality; which in turn is crucial to foster economic development in isolated regions. Does regulation have a role to play in the process of electrification? Another particularly delicate and crucial issue is the regulation of electricity prices. Electricity prices have a direct and significant impact on both financially weaker social groups (and therefore social peace), and on the attractivity of the local market for private investors. How does regulation interact with this balance between social justice and investment? The electricity sector in developing countries is also subject to a high level of informality and fraud. Can regulation contribute to addressing these issues?
This panel will gather papers addressing these questions and, more generally, discuss the role of regulation and IRAs regarding the particular challenges faced by developing countries in the electricity sector.