Discussion Papers

Daniel Schäffner

Bestimmung des Ausgangsniveaus der Kosten und des kalkulatorischen Eigenkapitalzinssatzes für eine Anreizregulierung des Energiesektors

Nr. 293 / April 2007


The German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) submitted its final report concerning the introduction of an incentive regulation regime in June 2006. The beginning of the new regulatory regime is planned for the beginning of the year 2009. At the time of the conversion both the initial value for the asset base and the level of the rate on equity has to be determined as components of the capital costs.

These two linked aspects are being described from a point of view of economic theory. As a second topic the current legal framework is being evaluated from an economic point of view. Concerning the choice of an appropriate initial value several alternatives have to be considered: the costs can be calculated as determined by the actual cost allowances; it is also possible to use average values of the last years or to undertake a re-valuation in the context of a comprehensive cost examination as starting point for the first regulatory period. The legal part of this paper discusses the current administrative decisions on the basis of the “Netzentgeltverordnung” (German ordinance on the calculation of network tariffs). The most important aspects thereby represent the method of depreciation, the evaluation of tangible fixed assets, the determination of the capital basis for the calculation of the equity yield rate as well as the consideration of tax effects.

As a second issue, theoretical characteristics of the determination of an adequate equity yield rate in a competitive regulatory framework are addressed. The WACC-model (Weighted Average Cost of Capital) is being introduced and discussed as well as commonly used methods of evaluation for the determination of the cost of capital. Particularly, the frequently used CAPM (Capital Asset Pricing Model) is described in detail thereby and critically discussed. Within the framework of a small empirical study some relevant problems concerning the statistical determination of beta values are being analysed. Afterwards, as an important aspect the interrelation between the design of a regulatory framework and the risk of the regulated utilities are represented. The following evaluation of the legal aspects of § 21 EnWG (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz) as well as the specifications of the Netzentgeltverordnung for the determination of the equity yield rate are being commented. These guidelines concede a certain scope to the BNetzA concerning the determination of the interest rate; whereby the legal definition emphasises to take competitive markets as benchmark for the interest rate level. In addition with the determination of an appropriate equity yield rate the effects of an predetermined debt rate on the financing risk have to be considered. Moreover it is being recommended to consider the tax effects as calculative dimension while determining the equity yield rate. [only a german version available]

Diskussion Paper is available for download.

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