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Quality of Service, Efficiency, and Scale in Network Industries: An Analysis of European Electricity Distribution

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  • Christian Growitsch
  • T. Jamasb
  • M. Pollitt

Abstract

Quality of service is of major economic significance in natural monopoly infrastructure industries and is increasingly addressed in regulatory schemes. However, this important aspect is generally not reflected in efficiency analysis of these industries. In this paper we present an efficiency analysis of electricity distribution networks using a sample of about 500 electricity distribution utilities from seven European countries. We apply the stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) method on multi-output translog input distance function models to estimate cost and scale efficiency with and without incorporating quality of service. We show that introducing the quality dimension into the analysis affects estimated efficiency significantly. In contrast to previous research, smaller utilities seem to indicate lower technical efficiency when incorporating quality. We also show that incorporating quality of service does not alter scale economy measures. Our results emphasise that quality of service should be an integrated part of efficiency analysis and incentive regulation regimes, as well as in the economic review of market concentration in regulated natural monopolies.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Halle Institute for Economic Research in its series IWH Discussion Papers with number 3.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:iwh:dispap:3-05

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Keywords: efficiency; quality of service; scale economies; input distance function; stochastic frontier analysis;

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References

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  1. Massimo Filippini & Jörg Wild, 2000. "Regional Differences in Electricity Distribution Costs and their Consequences for Yardstick Regulation of Access Prices," CEPE Working paper series 00-05, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
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  3. Jamasb, T. & Pollitt, M., 2001. "International Benchmarking and Yardstick Regulation: An Application to European Electricity Utilities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0115, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  4. Antonio Estache & Martin Rossi & Christian Ruzzier, 2004. "The case for international coordination of electricity regulation: evidence from the measurement of efficiency in South America?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13372, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  8. Giannakis, D. & T. Jamasb & Pollitt, M.G., 2004. "Benchmarking and incentive regulation of quality of service: an application to the UK electricity distribution utilities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0408, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
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  14. Gilsdorf, Keith, 1994. "Vertical integration efficiencies and electric utilities: A cost complementarity perspective," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 261-282.
  15. Ai, Chunrong & Sappington, David E M, 2002. "The Impact of State Incentive Regulation on the U.S. Telecommunications Industry," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 133-59, September.
  16. Baumol, William J, 1977. "On the Proper Cost Tests for Natural Monopoly in a Multiproduct Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 809-22, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Tim Coelli & Axel Gautier & Sergio Perelman & Roxana Saplacan-Pop, 2012. "Estimating the cost of improving quality in electric distribution: a parametruc distance function approach," CREPP Working Papers 1202, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
  2. Nikogosian, Vigen & Veith, Tobias, 2011. "Vertical integration, separation and non-price discrimination: An empirical analysis of German electricity markets for residential customers," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-069, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Astrid Cullmann & Christian Hirschhausen, 2008. "Efficiency analysis of East European electricity distribution in transition: legacy of the past?," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 155-167, April.
  4. Rahmatallah Poudineh & Tooraj Jamasb, 2013. "Investment and Efficiency under Incentive Regulation: The Case of the Norwegian Electricity Distribution Networks," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1310, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Astrid Cullmann, 2012. "Benchmarking and firm heterogeneity: a latent class analysis for German electricity distribution companies," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 147-169, February.
  6. Tooraj Jamasb & Rabindra Nepal, 2014. "Incentive Regulation and Benchmarking of Network Security," Discussion Papers Series 522, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  7. Astrid Cullmann & Hélène Crespo & Marie-Anne Plagnet, 2008. "International Benchmarking in Electricity Distribution: A Comparison of French and German Utilities," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 830, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Jamasb, Tooraj & Pollitt, Michael, 2007. "Incentive regulation of electricity distribution networks: Lessons of experience from Britain," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6163-6187, December.
  9. Abate, Megersa & Lijesen, Mark & Pels, Eric & Roelevelt, Adriaan, 2013. "The impact of reliability on the productivity of railroad companies," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-49.
  10. Fenrick, Steve A. & Getachew, Lullit, 2012. "Cost and reliability comparisons of underground and overhead power lines," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 31-37.

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