Review of electricity sector reform in five large, oil- and gas-exporting MENA countries: Current status and outlook
Since the early 80s, numerous developed and also developing countries on all continents have embarked on reforms of their national electricity sectors with varying degrees of ambition. The reforms were associated with hopes for accelerated innovation, enhanced customer service and, most importantly, efficiency gains in the operation of the sector and thus lower electricity costs for the consumers. Sector reform legislation in the five analyzed countries (Algeria, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) has been enacted rather late, commencing at the end of the 90s. The countries' abundant and cheap energy resources mitigated pressures for reforms and delayed the introduction of market principles in the sector's organization. All five countries have since adopted more market-oriented sector structures, though none have as yet implemented their target sector models. This study reviews past reform efforts, analyzes the different approaches and provides an outlook for the countries' future reform agendas.