CCP research cited in CMA issues statement on GB energy markets

Research undertaken by two CCP members has been referenced in the Competition and Market Authority’s updated issues statement as it continues its on-going investigation into British energy markets.

A CCP Working Paper by Professor Catherine Waddams (CCP & Norwich Business School) and Dr Minyan Zhu (CCP & Nottingham University Business School) is cited by the CMA in relation to the impact of the introduction of the Standard Licence Condition 25A (the SLC 25A non-discrimination clause) in 2009. The paper, ‘Pricing in the UK retail energy market 2005-2013‘, found that the non-discrimination clause prompted an adverse effect on competition in the energy market after its inception. An abstract for the paper can be found below.

UK governments and the energy regulator have shown increasing concern about the health of competition in the residential energy market, following their pioneering deregulation at the end of the last century. We identify the effects of introducing the non-discrimination clauses in 2009, a major regulatory intervention and the first since deregulation. We explore the effect of this intervention on the price movements of the six major players, and find that the nature of competition in the industry has changed, with less effective rivalry between the regional incumbents and large regional competitors following the intervention; companies seem to have ‘retreated’ to their home regions, leaving a market where pricing behaviour resembles more closely a duopoly between British Gas and the regional incumbent.

See also:

Catherine Waddams, ‘Is an in-depth energy market inquiry worth it?‘ (March 27, 2014) Competition Policy Blog.

Morten Hviid & Catherine Waddams, ‘Non-discrimination Clauses in the Retail Energy Sector‘ (2012) 122 The Economic Journal 236-252.

Mary Guy awarded inaugural SSF Publication Prize

A PhD researcher at the CCP has become the inaugural recipient of a publication award at the SSF Graduate School Prize-Giving Ceremony at the University of East Anglia.

Mary Guy (centre) with Yann Lebeau (l) and Jacqueline Collier (r)

Mary Guy (centre) with Dr. Yann Lebeau (l) and Prof. Jacqueline Collier (r) upon being presented with her award.

Mary Guy, who is also a researcher at the UEA Law School, was awarded the prize in recognition of a paper she has recently co-authored with Dr. André den Exter (Erasmus University Rotterdam). Their article, ‘Market Competition in Health Care Markets in The Netherlands: Some Lessons for England?‘,  was published in a special issue of the prestigious Medical Law Review that was devoted to discussion on the impact of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 on Health Law and, in particular, markets and vulnerable patients.

Professor Morten Hviid, Director of the CCP, led the congratulations upon hearing of Mary’s achievement: “It is great that research by one of CCP’s members on the very complex and topical theme of competition law and health care is recognised in this way.

Dr. Michael Hamilton, Director of Postgraduate Research at the UEA Law School, described Mary’s award as ‘hugely deserved‘ in light of the numerous considerations taken into account by the Selection Panel: ‘The assessment criteria include the quality and originality of research; its importance to both the immediate and wider research community; its potential interest to the wider community in terms of public engagement; and the potential for the paper to generate future research.

In presenting the award, Dr. Yann Lebeau (Associate Dean of Postgraduate Research in the Faculty of Social Sciences) praised Mary for developing research links with other institutions through her co-authorship. Professor Jacqueline Collier (Executive Dean of SSF) was on hand to present Mary with a certificate and a prize of £200. Congratulations Mary!

Further reading: André P. den Exter and Mary J. Guy, ‘Market Competition in Health Care Markets in The Netherlands: Some Lessons for England?’ (2014) 22(2) Medical Law Review 255-273. Full text available to OUP subscribers at this link.

Amelia Fletcher awarded OBE for services to Competition and Consumer Economics in the New Year honours list 2014

Amelia Fletcher CCP is delighted to learn that Amelia Fletcher was awarded OBE for services to Competition and Consumer Economics in the New Year honours list 2014.  This is a well-deserved recognition of the work Amelia has put in over the years to help markets work better for consumers.  

We are very pleased that she brings this recognised expertise to work on similar issues within CCP.

Amelia Fletcher discusses ‘The pros and cons of agency agreements’ at ACE Conference

In addition to a presentation by Bruce Lyons, the recent Annual Conference of the Association of Competition Economics (ACE) also saw CCP represented by Amelia Fletcher, who presented as part of a parallel session on ‘E-books and Online Platforms’. Her presentation discussed the pros and cons of agency agreements in the market for E-books, and whether the law is aligned with the economics in this area.

You can find links to Amelia’s presentation slides and the conference programme below.

Fletcher – What are the pros and cons of agency agreements, and is the law in the right place on these? (ACE13)

11th Annual ACE Conference programme

Bruce Lyons discusses ‘State aid to regional airports’ at ACE Conference

On Friday 13 December 2013, the CCP’s Bruce Lyons spoke at the 11th Annual Conference of the Association of Competition Economics (ACE) in Brussels. His presentation was part of a parallel session on the role of state aid in protecting regional airports.

You can find links to Bruce’s presentation slides and the conference programme below.

Lyons – State aid to regional airports (ACE13)

11th Annual ACE Conference programme

Dr Peter Whelan contributes to launch of Oxford Competition Law

As its Managing Editor, Dr Peter Whelan (CCP Member and Senior Lecturer in Law, UEA) contributed to the recent online launch of Oxford Competition Law, which is published by Oxford University Press. Oxford Competition Law is a fully integrated online service combining universally recognised market leading commentaries (Bellamy & Child, Faull & Nikpay, and Whish & Bailey) with rigorous, selective case reports and analysis from EU member states. The service is continually updated with cases and materials and its law case reporting service offers translations into English of the key portions of foreign language judgments.

For more information on Oxford Competition Law, including a blog entry from Dr Whelan, please click here.

New Competition Commission Members from ESRC CCP Advisory Board

Congratulations to our Advisory Board members Sarah Chambers and Professor Stephen Littlechild, who were announced as new panel members of the Competition Commission by Consumer Minister Jo Swinson on the 10th April.

Competition Commission panel members are selected and appointed for their experience, ability and diversity of skills in competition economics, law, finance and industry.  The Competition Commission is an independent public body which carries out in-depth inquiries into mergers, markets and the regulation of the major regulated industries.

The ESRC CCP Advisory Board provides strategic guidance and advice to ensure CCP achieves its scientific aims and objectives.  The Board brings together leaders in the field who have practical and academic expertise.

For further information, please see the Competition Commission announcement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/competition-commission-announces-new-members

Dr Nicholas Vasilakos awarded by the IAEE the 2012 Campbell Watkins Energy Journal Best Paper Award

The International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) has awarded Nicholas the 2012 Campbell Watkins best paper award for his paper “Storing wind for a rainy day” (joint with Richard Green from Imperial College).

The IAEE Campbell Watkins Award is an annual award, aimed at promoting high calibre, innovative research in the field of Energy economics (more information about the award and IAEE can be found here: http://www.iaee.org/en/publications/bestpaper.aspx

Nicholas will receive his award in the next IAEE international conference this August in Dusseldorf (in which he also hopes to present one of his latest papers).

Dr Peter Whelan undertakes a Visiting Professorship in Moscow

Dr Peter Whelan, a Lecturer in Law at UEA Law School and a Faculty Member of the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy, has completed a Visiting Professorship at the Institute of International Trade and Law in Moscow.

In the first week of April 2013, while at the Institute, Dr Whelan conducted an intensive five-day course aimed at advanced law students in Russia. Specifically, the course covered the fundamentals of English Contract Law and detailed how EU Competition Law (in particular Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union) can impact upon the content and validity of contracts in this particular jurisdiction.

Dr Peter Whelan addresses students in Moscow

Are calls to kill off NHS competition regulations misdirected?

Mary Guy, PhD candidate at UEA Law School and CCP member, has released this press comment:

Competition in the NHS could be managed even if proposed regulations are introduced, according to a researcher at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

It follows warnings from Dr Michael Dixon, chair of NHS Alliance and interim president of NHS Clinical Commissioners, about new rules published last month that aim to introduce competition to the NHS. Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, has also tabled a motion which, if passed, would see the House of Lords reject the regulations introduced by the government.

Mary Guy, a researcher at the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy at UEA, says that if Labour’s call to reject the regulations is successful, it is unclear what the outcome for the NHS would be.

“However, implementation of the regulations does not mean that competition in the NHS cannot be managed,” she said. “EU competition law makes provision for exceptions, which would mean that where competition is not beneficial because it inhibits the provision of public service obligations, including healthcare, these would not be opened up to competition.

“A further protective mechanism is Monitor’s role as economic regulator for healthcare. Experience in The Netherlands, the only other EU Member State to experiment with economic regulators in healthcare, suggests that the presence of a dedicated healthcare regulator forces the general competition authority to recognise that healthcare is a unique market which cannot be opened to competition in the same way as, for example, utilities.”

The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013 were intended to put the Principles and Rules of Co-operation and Competition (PRCC) used by the NHS Co-operation and Competition Panel (NHS CCP) on a statutory footing.

Ms Guy added: “This appears relatively uncontroversial, given that the NHS CCP was established under the previous Labour government and advised the Secretary of State. What is more sensitive is that Monitor – an independent regulator – will be enforcing the Regulations, which include powers for it to investigate anticompetitive agreements and abuses of dominance. This is generally understood as the ‘full force of EU competition law’.” 

Mary recently wrote for our Competition Policy blog on the topic of “Monitor’s Advice to the OFT and the New Healthcare Regulation