Nicholas Francis (Partner)
Nicholas Francis is one of Reckon LLP's founding partners. He has worked as an economic consultant since 2000. Much of his professional experience concerns the regulation of companies that do not face effective competition, including the use of price controls and competition law.
Nicholas has a detailed understanding of many aspects of price control regulation, particularly as applied to monopoly utility companies in the UK. He has expertise in the UK and EU competition law on abuse of a dominant position. He also provides analysis on the way in which economic regulation, and publicly-funded services such as the BBC, may affect competition. He has strong capabilities in quantitative and statistical analysis.
Nicholas has managed consultancy projects for both public sector and private sector clients. He has also contributed to a number of economics research projects for the European Commission.
Nicholas was the main author and partner responsible for the following reports:
- UKWIR (2012) A total expenditure approach to water company cost assessment
Available from UK Water Industry Research (£50 when last checked)
Reckon carried out a six-month study for UK Water Industry Research Limited (an association of water companies) to explore potential approaches to cost assessment and efficiency analysis at water company price control reviews that could allow an integrated analysis of operating and capital expenditure and tackle concerns about the separate and inconsistent treatment of these expenditure categories. The work was co-sponsored by Ofwat.
- ORR (2011) Productivity and unit cost trends for Network Rail price control
Report available from ORR website (148 pages, PDF)
Reckon produced a report for the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) analysing a number of different unit cost and productivity measures. The report was produced as part of the initial phase of work for the periodic review of Network Rail that will set access charges and outputs from 2014-2019. Our analysis included an update of real unit operating expenditure changes in other regulated network industries, such as electricity distribution, calculated in previous work for ORR by other consultants. In addition, we analysed EU KLEMS data and other sources to assess historical changes in a number of different measures related to productivity and unit costs. The report also contains a review of regulatory precedent regarding efficiency assumptions and an analysis of the approach used by ORR to set Network Rail's efficiency assumptions at the previous review.
- Ofgem (2009) Longer-term price controls
Paper available from Ofgem website (23 pages, PDF)
Ofgem asked Reckon LLP to prepare a short paper on the potential use of longer-term price controls in the regulation of Great Britain's gas and electricity networks. The paper was published as part of Ofgem's consultation on its emerging thinking from the RPI-X@20 review, in January 2010.
- Cave and Walker reviews (2009) Cross subsidies, price structures and competition in the England and Wales water industry
Report available from Defra website (136 pages, PDF)
Reckon was commissioned to provide research to support the independent review of competition and innovation in water markets, led by Professor Martin Cave, and the independent review of household charging, led by Anna Walker. The report examines charging arrangements in the water industry and considers how these might be affected by the development of new forms of competition within the industry.
- Ofwat (2009) PR09 Scope for efficiency studies
Report available from Ofwat website (190 pages, PDF)
Reckon carried out a project to advise Ofwat on unit cost trends in the water and sewerage industry. The work was commissioned as part of the 2009 price control review. The report presents analysis of historical changes in a number of different measures of operating and capital costs. It also provides forecasts of the growth in water and sewerage industry operating expenditure and unit capital expenditure over the price control period from 2010 to 2015.
Some rather old articles, available on Reckon's website
Reckon LLP is an economics consultancy with expertise in data analysis, economic regulation and competition law.