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Divestiture policy and operating efficiency in U.S. electric power distribution

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  • John Kwoka

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  • Michael Pollitt
  • Sanem Sergici

Abstract

This study examines the effects of divestiture policy on the operating efficiency of US distribution utilities. We focus on the decisive 1994-2003 period when state utility commissions required or pressured utilities to create standalone generation facilities, and thereby almost incidentally standalone distribution systems. The analytical foundation of this study is the measurement of the operating efficiency of 73 distribution units of major U.S. electric utilities in each of those ten years through the use of data envelopment analysis (DEA). Using this panel of data and controlling for other possible influences, we then evaluate the effects on measured efficiency from the divestitures that many of the utilities underwent during the study period. We find that while all divestitures as a group do not significantly affect distribution efficiency, those mandated by state public utility commissions have resulted in large and statistically significant adverse effects on efficiency.
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Suggested Citation

  • John Kwoka & Michael Pollitt & Sanem Sergici, 2010. "Divestiture policy and operating efficiency in U.S. electric power distribution," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 86-109, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:38:y:2010:i:1:p:86-109
    DOI: 10.1007/s11149-010-9122-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James B. Bushnell & Erin T. Mansur & Celeste Saravia, 2008. "Vertical Arrangements, Market Structure, and Competition: An Analysis of Restructured US Electricity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 237-266, March.
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    10. Delmas, Magali & Tokat, Yesim, 2003. "Deregulation Process, Governance Structures and Efficiency: The U.S. Electric Utility Sector," Research Papers 1790, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    11. Carrington, Roger & Coelli, Tim & Groom, Eric, 2002. "International Benchmarking for Monopoly Price Regulation: The Case of Australian Gas Distribution," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 191-216, March.
    12. Toru Hattori & Tooraj Jamasb & Michael Pollitt, 2005. "Electricity Distribution in the UK and Japan: A Comparative Efficiency Analysis 1985-1998," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 23-48.
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    14. Giovanni Fraquelli & Massimiliano Piacenza & Davide Vannoni, 2005. "Cost Savings From Generation and Distribution with an Application to Italian Electric Utilities," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 289-308, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kury, Theodore J., 2015. "The impact of coordination on wholesale market participation: The case of the U.S. electricity industry," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 38-44.
    2. Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki & Yuan, Yan & Goto, Mika, 2017. "A literature study for DEA applied to energy and environment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 104-124.
    3. Boom, Anette & Buehler, Stefan, 2014. "Restructuring the Electricity Industry: Vertical Structure and the Risk of Rent Extraction," Working Papers 02-2014, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
    4. Paul Nillesen & Michael Pollitt, 2011. "Ownership Unbundling in Electricity Distribution: Empirical Evidence from New Zealand," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 38(1), pages 61-93, January.
    5. Pollitt, Michael G. & Steer, Steven J., 2012. "Economies of scale and scope in network industries: Lessons for the UK water and sewerage sectors," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 17-31.
    6. Triebs, T.P. & Pollitt, M.G. & Kwoka, J.E., 2010. "The Direct Costs and Benefits of US Electric Utility Divestitures," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1049, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Theodore Kury, 2013. "Price effects of independent transmission system operators in the United States electricity market," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 43(2), pages 147-167, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity reform; Divestiture; Vertical integration; L94; L98; L22;

    JEL classification:

    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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