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Consumer involvement in water services regulation

Richard W.A. Franceys and Esther Gerlach

Utilities Policy, 2011, vol. 19, issue 2, 61-70

Abstract: Stakeholder participation may act as a substitute for the missing feedback links between (monopoly) water service providers and consumers. In the urban water sector, progress towards effective engagement with the general public is lagging behind the rhetoric, with even fewer attempts to engage low-income, presently often informal, consumers. This paper argues the case for consumer involvement as an essential part of the regulatory process, not only to enable positive service development, but also as a means to support the legitimacy of young or fragile regulatory agencies. Risks and constraints of different arrangements for involvement are discussed based on an examination of international experiences. Case study findings suggest that there is scope for a more proactive approach under a more inclusive framework for consumer involvement, though the actual choice of mechanism to gauge consumers' interests, for which there are numerous options, appears to be of lesser importance.

Keywords: Consumer; involvement; Water; Regulation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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