ESMAP BBL: International Experience with Open Access to Transmission and Distribution Systems in the Electricity Sector

 December 3, 2013


Efficient and reliable electricity supply is a key driver of economic growth. In recent decades, many developing and emerging economies have embarked on efforts to enhance the efficiency of their electricity markets. The quest for efficiency often involves structural reforms, such as unbundling and other measures designed to support greater competition in the power sector. Open access to transmission and distribution (T&D) grids by market participants is an essential element in this reform process.


A number of client countries of the World Bank (including India through its Electricity Act of 2003 and subsequent regulations) have embraced the concept of open access. However, implementation challenges loom large. Although approaches will always vary from country to country, creating a well-functioning open access regime may require:

  • Unbundling of generation from T&D

  • Effective regulatory oversight to enforce nondiscriminatory access to the grid

  • Efficient and predictable pricing of grid services

  • Transparent and effective network congestion management

  • Safeguards against opportunistic behavior by incumbent T&D operators having potentially strong incentives to inhibit entry

The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a global energy sector technical assistance facility administered by the World Bank, has undertaken a detailed study of international experience with open access to electricity transmission and distribution grids. Drawing on country examples—Brazil, Peru, Turkey, India, and the Philippines—and lessons learned from global practice, the study advises World Bank staff and country clients on effective options for open access implementation.


The learning objectives of this BBL focus on enabling the participants to:

  • Define open access to transmission and distribution systems and appreciate the scope for expanding the initial open access regime to its more advanced forms;

  • Understand the rationale and benefits of open access as well as the challenges and barriers to its implementation;

  • Appreciate the impact of open access on competition and investment in the electricity sector; and

  • Identify policy and institutional components of an effective approach to open access.


The BBL was led by Victor B. Loksha and Ashley C. Brown, the two main authors of the synthesis report, International Experience with Open Access to Power Grids (ESMAP Knowledge Series 016/13. November 2013), integrating the findings of ESMAP’s multi-country study completed in 2013.  The BBL was chaired by Rohit Khanna, Program Manager, ESMAP and the discussant was Sheoli Pargal, Economic Advisor, SASDE.


Watch Recorded Session | Presentations: Open Access to Power Grids: International Experience by Victor B. Loksha and Open Transmission Access: Scope, Dimensions, and Meaning by Ashley C. Brown.


Contact: Victor B. Loksha.

Privacy Policy

The content in this E-bulletin is copyrighted. Requests to reproduce it, in whole or in part, should be addressed to For more information visit our website: