Pakistan Institute of Development Economics


Electricity Tariff Design: A Survey (Policy)


In a perfectly competitive market, electricity is priced at the Marginal Cost (MC); MC pricing guarantees economic efficiency (Gunatilake, et al. 2008). In other words, efficient electricity tariffs consider all power supply costs. To a great degree, it also accounts for capital investments for future expansion and up-gradation (Kojima, et al. 2014). In a free market, market forces of demand and supply pushed for MC recovery. In contrast, for a regulated market, the regulator sets the tariff according to the costs and reasonable return determined through the regulatory process. The regulator followed pre-determined guidelines, parameters, and standards set by the government; it may or may not be MC pricing. When a regulated tariff is set at a low level, it distorts the development/ functioning of the market at both the wholesale and retail levels. “If regulated end-user prices are not in line with wholesale market conditions, suppliers without significant low-cost generation capacity or equivalent long-term contracts will not be able to make competitive offers that will allow them to recover their costs. Consequently, with a limited number of suppliers, there will be no development of the wholesale markets. Liquidity will remain at a low level. As a result, neither the wholesale nor retail markets will be competitive” (Cited from Suzzoni, 2009, p. 5).


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