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Religion and Political Theory: Secularism, Accommodation and The New Challenges of Religious Diversity, Edited by Jonathan Seglow and Andrew Shorten

Reputation or Capacity Driven? How Regulators Use Stakeholder Consultations in Multi-Level Arrangements

European Union
 
Public Administration
 
Regulation
 
Policy Implementation
 
Energy Policy
 
Presenter
Eva Ruffing
Universitetet i Bergen
Authors
Eva Ruffing
Universitetet i Bergen
Simon Fink
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Abstract
The interaction between regulators and regulatees is at the heart of research in many liberalized industries and services. In energy regulation, this relationship is institutionalized in a particularly strong manner, establishing some kind of principal agent relationship: European and national energy grid owners are tasked by the regulators with developing so-called Ten Year Network Development Plans, establishing which energy grids should be built within the ten next years. In addition, grid owners and national agencies consult interested stakeholder on their plans. These national plans have to be approved by the regulators. Then the national plans are brought together in a European plan, which is examined by the European energy regulator ACER. The paper compares the German and the European procedure and analyzes what role stakeholder consultations play on both levels for the principal-agent relationship between regulator and grid owner. In principle, consultations can serve two different functions: On the one hand consultations are well known to serve as kind of fire alarm, alarming the principal about potential wrongdoing by the agent. On the other hand, consultations can also provide additional information on the planned grid projects. The paper tests two assumptions in comparison: Either, the regulators usage of stakeholder comments might be reputation driven, which means that the regulator uses those statements useful for protecting its reputation (using consultations as a fire alarm). On the other hand it might be capacity driven, meaning that the regulator will rely the more on information provided by stakeholders, the less technical expertise and resources it has by itself.

Key words: regulation, consultation, reputation, capacity
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