Current Status and Evaluation of Network Unbundling in European Countries
This report examines current status of network unbundling of European countries and investigates relationships between the status of unbundling and several issues of electricity regarding representative countries. Those issues include electricity rates, introduction of renewable electricity, functions of wholesale power market, competition in retail supply market, and stable electricity supply with appropriate level of transmission investment. The purpose of this report is to provide policy implication for an ongoing discussion on establishing new energy policy and a structural reform of the energy industry in Japan. Important findings of this report are as follows: (1) Most European countries implemented ownership unbundling, however, there were no companies that were forced to separate their transmission network assets without any consent of managerial decision-making. The reason for this was a concern about legal dispute on property rights. No countries chose ISO model, because there was a concern among electric power companies about inconsistency between investment planning and ownership of the network assets. (2) We observed achievements of electricity market reform to some degree regarding advances in wholesale power markets and retail competition, in particular from a perspective of consumers' choice of suppliers. However, any clear evidence was not exhibited with respect to the relationship between the status of network unbundling and the degree of electricity rates, and that between the status of unbundling and the degree of introduction of renewable electricity from preceding cases of representative European countries. Consequently, we did not find solid evidence for the remarks that transmission network unbundling promoted reduced electricity rates and introduction of renewable electricity in Europe.
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