Statistical benchmarking in utility regulation: Role, standards and methods
Statistical benchmarking is being used with increasing frequency around the world in utility rate regulation. We discuss how and where benchmarking is in use for this purpose and the pros and cons of regulatory benchmarking. We then discuss alternative performance standards and benchmarking methods in regulatory applications. We use these to propose guidelines for the appropriate use of benchmarking in the rate setting process. The standards, which we term the competitive market and frontier paradigms, have a bearing on method selection. These along with regulatory experience suggest that benchmarking can either be used for prudence review in regulation or to establish rates or rate setting mechanisms directly.
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