First Economics is an economic consultancy formed in 2004. We specialise in assisting companies, investors, regulators and government across the full range of economic and financial issues that are encountered in regulation. Our principal areas of expertise include:
- price control formulation;
- incentive design;
- cost of capital estimation;
- financial modelling;
- efficiency analysis; and
- competition analysis.
Our clients call on us to perform a variety of different advisory roles. In many cases, we are asked to provide specialist, independent reports to inform the debates between regulator and company. We usually combine this work with behind-the-scenes strategic advice and guidance, helping our clients to formulate their arguments and shape the evidence that they make available to external stakeholders. Our consultants have also been used in the past to reinforce clients' in-house teams, bringing their experience and expertise directly to the writing of consultation documents and responses.
We are active in all of the regulated sectors of the UK economy. We also work internationally on a growing number of regulatory issues overseas and have a respected transport policy practice. See below for some examples of our work and here for a list of our clients over the last three years.
We are working with several of Britain's energy networks during the early stages of Ofgem's RIIO-3 price control reviews. We previously advised the GB electricity distribution networks, the GB gas distribution networks and the GB transmission networks during Ofgem's RIIO-ED2, RIIO-GD2 and RIIO-T2 price control reviews.
We also act as an adviser the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation across its work with the Northern Ireland electricity and gas companies, and have worked with the trade body Energy UK on the calibration of Ofgem's energy price cap.
First Economics worked with the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) during the H7 review of price control arrangements at Heathrow Airport and the ensuing CMA appeals. We had a similar role during the Q5 and Q6 reviews.
We also advised the CAA on the NR23 review of NATS' price controls.
In the rail sector, we act as advisers to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Many of Britain's train operators also attend our Owner Group Forum.
In recent months, we have been working with ORR on the regulation of Network Rail and assisted RDG during several government reviews of the rail industry. We have also helped individual companies understand and apply track access pricing rules.
We have worked with all 15 of the water and wastewater companies in England & Wales, as well as Ofwat, Scottish Water and the NI Utility Regulator as part of its oversight of NI Water.
Much of our work during the last few years focused on Ofwat's PR19 price review. We are now heavily involved in Ofwat's PR24 price review.
We recently acted as an expert witness in a Competition Appeals Tribunal case brought by Royal Mail.
We acted as adviser to the Competition Commission in five of the most recent price control appeals which were referred to the Commission by the UK’s Competition Appeals Tribunal.
We are currently advising on the regulatory framework for the Sizewell C nuclear power station.
Public Private Partnerships
We advised Tube Lines, one of the infracos that was formed as part of the London Underground public-private partnership, as it underwent its first ever periodic review.
Outside of the UK, we have been helping a number of clients during periodic reviews and, more fundamentally, in setting up regulatory regimes for the first time. For example, we have acted advisers to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore during its reviews of the price cap at Changi Airport. In Australia and New Zealand, our experts have prepared reports on issues relating to the estimation of the cost of capital. And in Malaysia, we have helped several of the country's energy companies during the implementation of a new form of incentive-based regulation.
First Economics has a highly respected training team. We are the appointed trainers for the UK Regulators Network's (UKRN's) shared Introduction to Economic Regulation and Cost of Capital Estimation training courses. We also regularly provide bespoke training courses for government bodies, regulators and regulated companies.