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 led the following projects:
- 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)
Nicholas Francis led Reckon's work in 2008 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.
Nicholas contributed to the following reports:
- Reckon / Spectrum (2006) Market impact of proposed BBC HD TV channel
Redacted version of report available from BBC website (45 pages, PDF)
Nicholas Francis worked with Spectrum Strategy Consultants to advise BBC Management as part of BBC Management's application to the BBC Trust to launch a high definition television channel. He was lead author of a preliminary market impact assessment of the proposed new channel. The launch of the channel was approved by the BBC Trust in November 2007.
- Market definition in the media sector: economic issues (2002)
View the Europe Economics report on the DG Competition website (146 pages, PDF)
Nicholas Francis and Franck Latrémolière, then at Europe Economics, were the main authors of this research report commissioned by DG Competition of the European Commission. The report considers media market definition in detail. The report draws first on a review of the economics of the media sector to identify the methodological issues that could render market definition analysis particularly challenging and, second, on a review of the problems that have arisen in practice, with attention to previous decisions by the Commission.
Articles available on the Reckon website
Selected posts on Ofcomwatch
Reckon LLP is an economics consultancy with expertise in data analysis, economic regulation and competition law.