The multidimensionality of electricity reform-an Australian perspective

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Energy Policy, 2003, 31 (11), pp. 1093 - 1102
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The electricity industry in Australia has over the last decade undergone fundamental and profound change. The industry has been functionally unbundled. The generation and retail segments of the industry have been exposed to competition. The transmission and distribution monopolies have been reoriented to foster competition. The customers are being offered increasing choice in the selection of their energy providers. The ownership of the industry is generally moving away from the public domain to the private domain. The rules for the governance of the industry have been developed in the form of a variety of market codes and regulation. Much of the debate about industry reform is being conducted exclusively in the economic domain. There is a general lack of any serious analysis and debate on the political, social, environmental and other dimensions of reform despite a wide consensus on the criticality of such dimensions. This is clearly unhelpful and could lead to obfuscation of the real challenges confronting the industry and preclude the development of responsible policy prescriptions to meet such challenges. There is an obvious need to devote some direct attention to these neglected dimensions of reform. This paper is one such attempt. It draws together the various dimensions of reform and provides a firmer basis for meaningful analyses and concrete debate on the issues. While the discussion focuses on Australian experience, the messages are relevant for other countries engaged in electricity reform. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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