Electricity networks privatization in Australia: An overview of the debate

Rabindra Nepal, John Foster

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The debate on electricity networks privatization in the Australian National Electricity Market is an important public policy concern but remains unsettled. This article reviews and compares the economic performance between the privately and state-owned electricity networks in Australia across three dimensions encompassing prices, quality and investment. The comparative analysis suggests that privately owned networks are not worse off than the state-owned networks in terms of performance. However, international empirical evidence indicates that the efficiency gains to consumers from electricity networks privatization will depend on the underlying regulatory regime and regulatory institutional framework. The long-term concerns on future investments, security of supply, climate change and economic regulation of networks will continue to prevail once the short-term efficiency gains from privatization are exhausted. These concerns imply that the role of the state will still be significant, although transformed, even after electricity networks privatization raising questions on the motives of privatization.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12-24
    Number of pages13
    JournalEconomic Analysis and Policy
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


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