GENERATING COMPETITION IN THE ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY

Publication Date01 Feb 1993
Pages395-402
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/eb024787
AuthorMARK HALLILEY
SubjectAccounting & finance
GENERATING COMPETITION IN THE ELECTRICITY
INDUSTRY
Received: 4th January, 1993
MARK HALLILEY
MARK HALLILEY
WORKS AS A REPORTER FOR FILE
ON
4, THE
WEEKLY CURRENT AFFAIRS DOCUMENTARY
PROGRAMME FOR RADIO 4. HE HAS A DOUBLE
FIRST
IN ENGLISH LITERATURE FROM
CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY. HE HAS PREVIOUSLY
WORKED AS A PRESENTER-PRODUCER FOR
CAPITAL RADIO (IN THE DAYS WHEN THEY
REGULARLY MADE DOCUMENTARIES) AND AS
A PRODUCER FOR YORKSHIRE TELEVISION
DOCUMENTARIES. LAST MONTH (DECEMBER)
HE
AND HIS COLLEAGUES WON THE HOWARD
LEAGUE MEDIA PRIZE FOR A RECENT FILE
ON
4
EDITION ABOUT BULLYING AND SUICIDE IN
FELTHAM PRISON.
AS WELL AS BREAKING ITS OWN STORIES,
FILE ON 4 SPECIALISES IN LOOKING BEHIND
THE NEWS - HELPING LISTENERS
UNDERSTAND THE BACKGROUND TO TOPICAL
ISSUES.
THE PROGRAMME ON 20TH OCTOBER,
1992, PRODUCED BY LYNN
JONES,
WAS ABOUT
THE STRUCTURE OF THE ELECTRICITY
INDUSTRY; IT WAS BROADCAST AT THE
HEIGHT OF THE DISPUTE ABOUT BRITISH
COAL'S PLAN TO CLOSE 31 PITS.
ABSTRACT
The privatisation of
the
electricity industry
was
badly
flawed.
It
created
a
generating
duopoly
in the form of National Power and
Powergen. These two
companies
have a
degree of
control
which is incompatible
with the
concept
of
the
open market and
which is
detrimental
to the
interests
of
the
consumer.
Given the power of
that
duopoly,
it is doubtful whether the
Governmental
regulatory authority, OFFER, can effect
real change without a referral to the
Mono-
polies
and
Mergers
Commission.
PRIVATISATION OF THE
ELECTRICITY INDUSTRY
When Cecil Parkinson, the then
Secretary of State for the Depart-
ment of Energy, addressed the Con-
servative Party Conference on 12th
October, 1988, he assured his audi-
ence that the privatisation of the
electricity industry would bring
genuine competition. 'There will be
no single monolithic British Elec-
tricity', he declared.
But there is now ample evidence
to suggest that the Government
failed in its attempt to open the
industry up to competition, particu-
larly at the level of power genera-
tion. This raises serious questions
about the function of the Govern-
395

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