This paper examines market structure, regulation, and market performance of the Dutch electricity retail market for households since its opening in 2004. Using data containing monthly prices for all products offered in the Dutch retail electricity markets over the period 2008–2014, we provide quantitative results on the intensity of retail competition and the benefits to consumers. Regulation of the retail electricity market is relatively intensive and encompasses structural measures, contractual restrictions, rules on information provision, price surveillance and market monitoring. In contrast to most other countries, the Dutch regulation includes a kind of price regulation which is that the regulator surveys all new retail prices before market introduction in order to prevent too high retail prices. The Dutch retail electricity market has remained relatively concentrated, with retailers offering an increasing variety of retail products, often using multiple brands. Competition is characterized by product innovation, especially for green energy, rather than price competition on homogenous products. Gross retail margins remain relatively high, as is price dispersion across retailers. The market matured, as evidenced by fewer consumer complaints and higher switching rates.
Retail electricity market; Competition; Regulation; Ex-post assessment;