Achievements and current challenges regarding public utilities’ regulation in Brazil

Brazil is the seventh largest economy in the world in terms of GDP. As a consequence of the privatization program launched in the 1990s, a significant portion of public services was transferred to private investors under long-term concession agreements. This was the case of transmission and distribution of electricity, roads, railroads and telecommunica­tions. However, despite privatization, the State remains an important player in sectors such as electricity and oil & gas, which increases the complexity of regulation considering an environment in which State-owned companies interact with private investors.This Special Issue of the Network Industries Quarterly focuses on Brazil. The goal is to provide readers with an overview of the main achievements and current challenges faced by public utilities’ regulation in the country.

This volume of Network Industries Quarterly consists of five papers that shall provide readers with a broad sense of what happened in terms of public utilities’ investment in Brazil in the last two decades and some trends for the future. The first paper, written by the editors of this volume, presents the 1990s’ reform that led to a privatization program and the concession of public utilities’ services to pri­vate investors. During the 1990s Brazil also experienced the creation of regulatory independent commissions to regulate public utilities’ sectors. In the second paper, Azumendi shows the results of a research in which he analyzed the characteristics of the members of the Board of Directors of such commissions at the federal level. The three last papers are dedicated to the assessment of specific public utilities’ sectors. Ashley Brown provides us with a discussion as to whether the natural gas industry in Brazil should be liberalized adopting a simpler licensing mechanism. The paper by Castelar and Azevedo discusses pros and cons of unbundling infras­tructure management and service provision in the rail system. Finally, the paper from Canêdo-Pinheiro discusses the development of telecommuni­cations’ regulation in Brazil since the privatization program of the 1990s.

Are you also interested in governance of infrastructures in cities? If yes, please visit the IGLUS platform at which is our dedicated platform to envision Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems! In IGLUS, We have currently launched a MOOC on Management of Urban Infrastructures which is a free course diffused through the Coursera platform. For more information about this online course, please visit us at

Separate articles can be downloaded from the links below:

If you are interested to have a contribution for the forthcoming issues of the Network Industries Quarterly, please feel free to send an email to Matthias Finger or Irina Lapenkova.


Istanbul Center for Regulation
Florence School of Regulation (Transport)
Network Industries Quarterly