What role did knowledges of ‘consumers’ play in the formulation of GB energy market regulation between 2000 and 2016?

Errington, Elizabeth (2020) What role did knowledges of ‘consumers’ play in the formulation of GB energy market regulation between 2000 and 2016? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis examined the role that knowledges of ‘consumers’ played in the formulation of energy market regulation in Great Britain between 2000 and 2016. The thesis found, based on documentary analysis, elite interviews and process tracing and mapping, that during this period there was not equitable access to the procedures of retail energy market regulation. Such equitable access was undermined by three features.

First, energy regulation was embedded in a complex policy system of interacting institutions and organisations. Second, there were resource inequalities between policy actors. Third, there was an inequality of respect for different knowledges - that is the ways of understanding people who use energy – within procedures of energy regulation. These three features resulted in preferential access to regulatory procedures for energy supply firms who had the resources to make the case to regulators with evidence of market engagement which was accepted as credible and relevant to regulatory decision making.

Inequitable access to regulatory procedures meant a failure of energy regulation to meet the standards set in terms of regulatory legitimacy and energy justice – equal access for diverse voices. Preferential access of firms to regulatory processes undermines regulatory legitimacy and procedural justice. This analysis identifies the role of epistemic capture – capture by ideas – of market logics within economic regulation between 2000 and 2016. The repeated failures to incorporate diverse knowledges meant that successive market reforms failed to incorporate the nuanced understanding of people who use energy presented by diverse voices in regulatory procedures and visible in the regulators own research. The inability of the regulator to implement market reforms which incorporated ways of knowing people beyond deficit concepts of consumers led to a series of unfair outcomes in the energy market between 2000 and 2016 – unaffordable energy for some of the most vulnerable groups in society.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 12:46
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2020 12:46
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77382


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