More than two decades have passed since the start of the worldwide marketoriented electricity sector reforms. The reforms have varied in terms of structure, market mechanisms, and regulation. However, the passage of time calls for taking stock of the performance of the reforms in developing countries. This paper surveys the empirical literature on electricity sector reforms and draws some conclusions with a view to the future. Overall, the reforms have tended to improve the technical efficiency of the sector. The macroeconomic benefits of reforms are less clear and remain difficult to identify. Also, the gains from the reforms have often not trickled down to consumers because of institutional and regulatory weaknesses. In order to achieve lasting benefits, reforms need to adopt measures that align their pursuit of economic efficiency with those of equity and provision of access. Reforms can deliver more economic benefits and alleviate poverty when the poor have access to electricity. New technologies and institutional capacity building can help improve the performance of reforms.