Utility Regulation and Strategic Management
Course Summary:

In recent decades the world has seen a shift in the provision of electricity, telecommunications, water, and gas utility infrastructure. Greater private participation, commercialization, and liberalization have led countries to place new emphasis on their ability to establish sustainable regulatory arrangements that carry credibility with investors and legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and that deliver greater efficiency for the economy as a whole.

Many countries are responding to these challenges by creating utility regulatory agencies or adapting existing institutions so they function more effectively. Newly appointed regulators play a critical role in this new environment: their ability to effectively perform regulatory functions as they interface among government, the private sector, the public, and other interest groups is a key factor influencing the implementation of reforms and the sustainability of regulatory arrangements. At the same time, the introduction of new functions has increased the demand for professional utility regulators

Course Objectives:

This is an unparalled experience to learn problem-solving techniques complemented by an international exchange of ideas and experiences. The program offers an international forum for the dissemination of relevant best practices and research. It is specifi cally tailored to the professional requirements of utility regulators and service provider regulatory staff. The program is designed to enhance the economic, technical, and policy skills required for implementing policies and managing sustainable regulatory systems for infrastructure sectors.

Course Outline

I. Market Reform and Regulation of Network Industries

  • Why are countries reforming their utility sectors?
  • What are the basic approaches?
  • What are the constraints to introducing competition in network industries?
  • What are key economic and legal principles for ensuring their sound implementation?
  • How should the interface between monopoly and competition be regulated?
  • What are the impacts of different forms of vertical separation and service unbundling on competition and regulation?

II. Financial Analysis for Utility Regulation

  • What principles and practices of cost accounting can be applied to the treatment of operating costs, capital expenditures, depreciation,and taxes of utility companies?
  • How can regulators determine the cost of capital and assess the projects, particularly in countries with scarce or unreliable cost information?
  • How do regulatory practices affect risk for investors and customers?
  • What are the information requirements for regulators? How can regulators improve data quality and minimize information rents?

III. Principles and Application of Incentive Regulation

  • What should be the extent of regulation?
  • What are the trade-offs between flexibility and predictability of regulatory arrangements?
  • What has been the experience with alternative schemes of incentive regulation?
  • What incentive rules promote competition, efficiency, and innovation?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of alternative forms of price regulation?
  • How does the choice of regulatory scheme affect the system’s overall credibility, efficiency, and legitimacy?
  • What has been the experience with conducting price reviews under alternative incentive systems?

IV. Non-Price Aspects of Utility Regulation

  • What rationale and methods are used for introducing performance standards and incentives related to quality of service, health,safety, and environmental factors?
  • How can regulators develop and implement systems for improving service to the poor?
  • What are effective regulatory strategies for monitoring performance and enforcing compliance?

V. Managing the Introduction of Competition in and for the Market

  • Where can competitive forces be introduced or strengthened?
  • What policies hinder competition and which promote competition?
  • When should regulators intervene in market structure?
  • What has been the experience with different types of market mechanisms for unbundled utility services?
  • How should regulators apply competition rules and antitrust principles?

VI. Rate Structure

  • What are key considerations in rate design?
  • What rate design options create win-win opportunities for customers and investors?
  • How do the joint and common costs associated with network industries affect pricing rules?
  • How does the introduction of competition affect decisions about tariff re-balancing, cross-subsidization, and funding of social obligations?
  • How does regulation affect provider's investment and service strategies? How should universal service obligations be developed and funded?

VII. Managing the Regulatory Process

  • What are key considerations for the establishment and functioning of regulatory institutions?
  • How can the regulatory process promote legitimacy and credibility of regulatory decisions?
  • What leadership practices improve regulator's effectiveness?
  • What strategies are at the disposal of regulators to effectively manage complex and often politically sensitive negotiations involving government, investors, consumers, and other interest groups?
  • What has been the experience with alternative mechanisms for consensus building and dispute resolution?
  • What strategies can regulators use to effectively communicate with the public?
  • How can regulators become more efficient and effective in accomplishing their tasks in different institutional settings?