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What happened to efficiency in electricity industries after reforms?

  • Erkan, Erdogdu

The last two decades have witnessed widespread power market reforms in both developed and developing countries that have cost billions of dollars. Among the key aims (and assumptions) of these reforms, there has always been realization of improvements in power sector efficiency. This paper questions the validity of this hypothesis. Using panel data from 92 countries covering the period 1982-2008, empirical models are developed and analyzed. The research findings suggest that the impact of the reforms on electricity industry performance is statistically significant but also limited. The results imply that, after controlling for country-specific variables, application of liberal market models in electricity industries slightly increases efficiency in power sector. Besides, we detect a positive relationship between reform process and the percentage share of network (transmission and distribution) losses in total electricity supplied, meaning that as countries take more reform steps the network losses as a fraction of power generated tend to increase. Moreover, the study puts forward that income level and other country specific features are more important determinants of industry efficiency than the reform process. Overall, contrary to expectations of substantial increases in sector efficiency, the paper concludes that introducing a decentralized market model with competition in the electricity sector has a limited increasing effect on power industry performance.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 6551-6560

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:10:p:6551-6560
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Zhang, Yin-Fang & Kirkpatrick, Colin & Parker, David, 2002. "Electricity Sector Reform in Developing Countries: An Econometric Assessment of the Effects of Privatisation, Competition and Regulation," Centre on Regulation and Competition (CRC) Working papers 30593, University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM).
  2. World Bank, 2010. "World Development Indicators 2010," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 4373.
  3. Carlo Fiorio & Massimo Florio & Raffaele Doronzo, 2007. "The Electricity Industry Reform Paradigm in the European Union: Testing the Impact on Consumers," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1066, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
  4. Faye Steiner, 2001. "Regulation, industry structure and performance in the electricity supply industry," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2001(1), pages 143-182.
  5. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2011. "The impact of power market reforms on electricity price-cost margins and cross-subsidy levels: A cross country panel data analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1080-1092, March.
  6. Jamasb, Tooraj & Newbery, David & Pollitt, Michael, 2005. "Core indicators for determinants and performance of the electricity sector in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3599, The World Bank.
  7. Erdogdu, Erkan, 2010. "Electricity Market Reform: Lessons for developing countries," MPRA Paper 27317, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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