Regulação por contrato no setor de saneamento: o caso de Ribeirão Preto

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Pacheco, Regina Silvia Viotto Monteiro
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The expansion of water and sanitation infrastructure is crucial to social and economic development. It requires, however, massive investments, not always available, especially for the public sector. The Brazilian water and sanitation sector is caracterized by the presence of large state-owned companies, established in the end of the 1960´s. Nevertheless, in a cenario where a new State paradigm is under development (from the direct delivery of services to regulation of services provision), some local governments have attracted private companies to the water and sanitation sector through concession contrats. In these cases, the contract itself is the basis for regulating the services, construing a model of regulation by contracts. This work deals with the regulation by contracts in the water and sanitation sector and develops a case study about the concession in Ribeirão Preto, a city in the state of São Paulo, which, in 1995, transfered the sewerage treatment services a private provider. The dissertation discusses the historic evolution of the sector, the main regulatory aspects and the factors that must be taken into account when analysing an initiative of regulation by contract at the local level. It argues that regulation by contract shall not be understood as restricted to the contract clauses, as it reaches the dinamic relation between regulator and regulated agents. It also emphasizes the need for a difficult balance between certainty and flexibility in a long-term contractual relationship.

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