Electricity sector has grown substantially in Turkey since the early 1960s as a result of rapid industrialization and urbanization. The vertically integrated state-owned company had a legally established monopoly on the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Turkey. With the support and encouragement of international organizations like the World Bank, Turkey has initiated a comprehensive program to liberalize and privatize the electricity market in 2001. The liberalization of the electricity market in Turkey started in the distribution side of the market. The distribution network was divided into 21 distribution regions and in each of these, separate - initially state-owned - disbibution companies have been authorized to distribute and sell electricity. The plan envisaged to complete privatization of all distribution companies until the end of 2006. This study compares the welfare implication of privatization of the distribution networks by comparing two extreme cases, a pure regional distributional monopoly case and a representative pure "free" consumer case, with a benchmark case of administered price regulation. For this purpose, we develop a simulation model of the Turkish electricity system, and use the data on generation and distribution costs. Our simulation analysis shows that substantial welfare losses occur if the distributional companies behave as regional monopolists. Our findings reiterate the importance of regulation and market design. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.