Privatization of electricity has been extensive both in the developed and the developing world. Failures in various areas have led to the emergence of a new consensus which regards competitive pressures and regulation as crucial for utility privatizations to work. This review paper presents a critical evaluation of this newly found wisdom with reference to the developing economies. The experience in the developed world, especially in the USA and the UK, has been used to draw conclusions for the developing economies. Overall, the paper highlights the problems associated with the 'competitive model' both in the developed and developing world and points to the potential instability in private competitive power supply systems. It also examines the degree to which regulation can be a panacea for market failures and structural problems under private provision.