Economics at your fingertips  

Optimal WACC in tariff regulation under uncertainty

Ward Romeijnders () and Machiel Mulder ()
Additional contact information
Ward Romeijnders: University of Groningen
Machiel Mulder: University of Groningen

Journal of Regulatory Economics, 2022, vol. 61, issue 2, No 1, 89-107

Abstract: Abstract In the regulation of network tariffs, the compensation for the opportunity costs of capital through the Weighted Average Costs of Capital (WACC) plays a crucial role. Determining the appropriate level for the WACC is, though, problematic because of the uncertainty about the future conditions in capital markets. When the WACC is set above the future opportunity costs of capital, consumers will pay too much, while when the WACC is below that level, network operators may be unable to finance investments affecting quality of network services. In this paper, we explicitly take this uncertainty into account when we determine the optimal WACC for the tariff regulation of an electricity network. By trading off consumer surplus and expected disruption costs in the electricity grid, we conclude that from a social-welfare perspective in most cases the optimal WACC in tariff regulation is above the historical mean costs of capital. Only in case of high uncertainty about the true costs of capital while network operators are able to quickly increase investment levels, the optimal WACC is below the historical mean because then it is less likely that the WACC is constantly insufficient to cover actual costs of capital. However, when network operators cannot quickly increase investment levels the optimal WACC is always above the historical mean cost of capital.

Keywords: Tariff regulation; Weighted average cost of capital; Electricity grid; D25; D42; Q48; L51; L94 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer. ... on/journal/11149/PS2

DOI: 10.1007/s11149-022-09447-6

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Regulatory Economics is currently edited by Menaham Spiegel

More articles in Journal of Regulatory Economics from Springer
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2022-07-02
Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:61:y:2022:i:2:d:10.1007_s11149-022-09447-6