During the past decade most Latin American countries reformed and liberalized their electric sectors. This paper examines these reforms, providing a critical examination of the effects. Late reformers learnt from the experience of earlier reforming countries, and in particular from the Chilean experience. This evolutionary process has meant less regulation of segments that are or can be made to be competitive (generation and commercial services) and more regulation of the non-competitive sectors (transmission and distribution) combined with the vertical disintegration of competitive and noncompetitive segments of the industry. Nevertheless, a market approach to generation must worry about the possibility of strategic behavior by generating companies. Some open questions remain, for example, how to solve the problem of the expansion of the transmission system and how to strike a balance between a regulator that has some freedom of action to react to unforeseen events, and the corresponding fear of regulatory takings.
Publicado en: Economía, 1, 155-1998, Fall.
Keywords: Electric systems, Latin America, Regulation, Regulatory reform.