Towards a semiology of the periodic review of UK regulated utilities

Stuart M. Cooper, David Crowther, Chris Carter

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This note explores the regulatory process of UK privatised utilities through the periodic review of prices. It provides a brief history of the privatisation programme in the UK and the theoretical arguments for the price-cap regulation that has been used. It argues that regulatory process appears to involve a covert dialogue and exchange of information between the regulator and regulated and also a second separate review process that consists of an overt dialogue. Using a semiotic analysis the authors suggest that the unfolding of each of these overt reviews follows a very similar pattern that is constantly being re-enacted. It is concluded that further research is required into the relative importance of the two separate review processes in the setting of the price-cap.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-297
Number of pages7
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2001

Bibliographical note

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  • privatixation
  • utility industries
  • price-cap regulation
  • semiology
  • UK


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