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Efficiency analysis of German electricity distribution utilities - non-parametric and parametric tests

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  • Christian von Hirschhausen
  • Astrid Cullmann
  • Andreas Kappeler

Abstract

This study applies non-parametric and parametric tests to assess the efficiency of electricity distribution companies in Germany. Traditional issues in electricity sector benchmarking are addressed, such as the role of scale effects and optimal utility size, as well as new evidence specific to the situation in Germany. Labour, capital, and peak load capacity are used as inputs, and units sold and the number of customers as output. The data cover 307 (out of 553) German electricity distribution utilities. A data envelopment analysis (DEA) is applied with constant returns to scale (CRS) as the main productivity analysis technique, whereas stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) with distance function is the verification method. The results suggest that returns to scale play but a minor role; only very small utilities have a significant cost advantage. Low customer density is found to affect the efficiency score significantly, in particular in the lower third of all observations. Surprisingly, East German utilities feature a higher average efficiency than their West German counterparts. The correlation tests imply a high coherence of the results.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian von Hirschhausen & Astrid Cullmann & Andreas Kappeler, 2006. "Efficiency analysis of German electricity distribution utilities - non-parametric and parametric tests," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(21), pages 2553-2566.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:21:p:2553-2566
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840500427650
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lenka Š astná & Martin Gregor, 2011. "Local Government Efficiency: Evidence from the Czech Municipalities," Working Papers IES 2011/14, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised May 2011.
    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. 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.
    4. repec:eee:energy:v:155:y:2018:i:c:p:35-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Zakaria, Muhammad & Noureen, Rabia, 2016. "Benchmarking and regulation of power distribution companies in Pakistan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 1095-1099.
    6. Cullmann, Astrid & Nieswand, Maria, 2015. "Regulation and Investment Incentives in Electricity Distribution," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113090, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. repec:spr:annopr:v:261:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-017-2628-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Jamasb, T. & Söderberg, M., 2009. "Yardstick and Ex-post Regulation by Norm Model: Empirical Equivalence, Pricing Effect, and Performance in Sweeden," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0908, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Galán, Jorge E. & Pollitt, Michael G., 2014. "Inefficiency persistence and heterogeneity in Colombian electricity utilities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 31-44.
    10. Geys, Benny & Moesen, Wim, 2008. "Measuring local government technical (in)efficiency: An application and comparison of FDH, DEA and econometric approaches," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-21, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    11. Bönisch, Peter & Haug, Peter & Illy, Annette & Schreier, Lukas, 2011. "Municipality Size and Efficiency of Local Public Services: Does Size Matter?," IWH Discussion Papers 18/2011, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    12. Tooraj Jamasb & Magnus Söderberg, 2010. "The Effects of Average Norm Model Regulation: The Case of Electricity Distribution in Sweden," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 36(3), pages 249-269, May.
    13. Kuosmanen, Timo, 2012. "Stochastic semi-nonparametric frontier estimation of electricity distribution networks: Application of the StoNED method in the Finnish regulatory model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2189-2199.
    14. repec:spr:jecstr:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40008-017-0073-z is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:juipol:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:18-28 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Fatima S. Al Shamsi & Hassan Aly & Mohamed El-Bassiouni, 2009. "Measuring and explaining the efficiencies of the United Arab Emirates banking system," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(27), pages 3505-3519.
    17. Taniguchi, Mariko & Kaneko, Shinji, 2009. "Operational performance of the Bangladesh rural electrification program and its determinants with a focus on political interference," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2433-2439, June.
    18. Cambini, Carlo & Croce, Annalisa & Fumagalli, Elena, 2014. "Output-based incentive regulation in electricity distribution: Evidence from Italy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 205-216.
    19. Astrid Cullmann & Christian von Hirschhausen, 2007. "From Transition to Competition: Dynamic Efficiency Analysis of Polish Electricity Distribution Companies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 716, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    20. Löber, Gerrit & Staat, Matthias, 2010. "Integrating categorical variables in Data Envelopment Analysis models: A simple solution technique," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 202(3), pages 810-818, May.
    21. Vishal Chandr Jaunky and Lin Zhang, 2016. "Convergence of Operational Efficiency in Chinas Provincial Power Sectors," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(China Spe).
    22. Arcos-Vargas, A. & Núñez-Hernández, F. & Villa-Caro, Gabriel, 2017. "A DEA analysis of electricity distribution in Spain: An industrial policy recommendation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 583-592.
    23. Çelen, Aydın & Yalçın, Neşe, 2012. "Performance assessment of Turkish electricity distribution utilities: An application of combined FAHP/TOPSIS/DEA methodology to incorporate quality of service," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 59-71.
    24. Jorge E. Galán & Michael G. Pollitt, 2014. "Inefficiency persistence and heterogeneity in Colombian electricity distribution utilities," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1423, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    25. Jaunky, Vishal Chandr, 2013. "Divergence in technical efficiency of electric utilities: Evidence from the SAPP," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 419-430.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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