In the past, network utilities, like railways, telecommunications, gas, water and electricity supply, were normally state owned and run. The idea of a private company having control of the country's water supply, for example, was seldom considered. This paper considers: how a private company could raise the necessary capital for investing in a national infrastructure; what incentive would it have to expand the supply network into impoverished and difficult to reach areas; and how a government could prevent it suddenly raising its prices if there was no alternative supplier. The effects are investigated of electricity privatisation in 51 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and policy transfer from western countries, sometimes under pressure from donor agencies, are reviewed with regard to how well these methods actually work in a developing country context?
Manchester, UK, CRC Policy Brief, No. 5, 4 pp.