Thursday, 26 September 2013

International expert advises South Korea on electricity sector

A recent spate of power supply shortages in South Korea has prompted its government to consider alternative policies and solutions in the country’s electric power industry by hosting an international symposium “Electric Power Industry in Crisis: What are the options?”

Hulya Dagdeviren, professor of international economic development at the University of Hertfordshire and an expert in privatisation of public services, was invited to speak at the symposium and share her knowledge and experience of countries that have privatised their electric power industry – to help influence public opinion and policy direction.

In an interview with one of the leading newspapers in Korea, Hulya pointed to the problems with the South Korean government’s intention to introduce and expand market competition in the electric power industry.

Many countries have made efforts to privatise their electric power industry.  However, the long-term benefits of privatisation have been doubtful. In particular, motivating the private companies to invest sufficiently in the sector has been a real challenge, leading to capacity shortages and hence, price hikes. For example, the electric power industry is completely privatised in the UK.  Although UK prices fell initially during privatisation, much to the consumers delight at that time, today they are amongst the highest in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development).

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