The Roosevelt Project
Michael Pollitt, September 2004
Chile was the first country in the world to implement a comprehensive reform of its electricity sector in the recent period. Among developing countries only Argentina has had a comparably comprehensive and successful reform. This paper traces the history of the Chilean reform, which began in 1982, and assesses its progress and its lessons. We conclude that the reform has been very successful. We suggest lessons for the generation, transmission and distribution sectors, as well as the economic regulation of electricity and the general institutional environment favourable to reform. We note that while the initial market structure and regulatory arrangements did give rise to certain problems, the overall experience argues strongly for the private ownership and operation of the electricity industry.