Friday 22 September 2017

Potential water benefits have already been diluted

Politicisation of the new utility has already commenced – and the omens are not good, writes Colm McCarthy

The iconic Poolbeg chimneys
The iconic Poolbeg chimneys
Colm McCarthy

Colm McCarthy

Most industries are naturally com- petitive. You can shop at Dunnes, Tesco or Aldi. You can buy the Examiner, the Irish Times or the Independent. If you are unhappy with price or service, you have options. The firms know this and have a daily incentive to do better and keep customers happy. But you cannot buy gas pipeline services from anyone other than Bord Gais Energy.

If you live in the Dublin area, you buy airport services from Dublin Airport, swim or take the ferry. These businesses are monopolies not because the Government has arbitrarily granted them that privilege but because it simply does not make sense to have competing gas pipelines in residential areas or several airports in small cities.

Some businesses just happen to be natural monopolies in the sense that many competing providers would be inefficient, creating a price level higher than is feasible with a single supplier.

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