IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Performance and efficiency in Colombia's power utilities: an assessment of the 1994 reform


  • Carlos Pombo


  • Rodrigo Taborda



This paper describes the core features of the power sector 1994 regulatory reform and evaluates utility performance and efficiency before and after the reform. The performance analysis assesses the changes in means and medians of a series of profitability, efficiency, investment, sales of the privatized power holdings. Technical efficiency is estimated through DEA technique in a sample of 33 power thermal-plants that account for 85% of the thermal park and 12 distribution utilities. The sample units are plants that were active before the reform and new entrants that started business operations after the reform. The main outcomes show that efficiency scores have improved after the reform and that regulatory policy has had a positive effect on technical efficiency in thermal power generation. In contrasts the less efficient power distributors got worsened after the reform and were not able to undertake plant restructuring in order to catch up productive efficiency with respect to the best practice production frontier. ******************************************************************* El artículo describe las características centrales de la reforma regulatoria al sector eléctrico en 1994 y evalúa el desempeño y la eficiencia de las empresas públicas antes y después de la reforma. El análisis de desempeño evalúa los cambios en medias y medianas en ganancias, eficiencia, inversión y ventas de las empresas privatizadas en el sector. La eficiencia técnica es estimada mediante la técnica DEA en una muestra de 33 plantas térmicas de energía, que representan el 85% del parque térmico; y 12 empresas distribuidoras de energía. La muestra de plantas generadoras está compuesta por plantas que estaban activas antes de la reforma y plantas nuevas que entraron en operación después de la reforma. Los principales resultados muestran que la eficiencia mejoro después de la reforma y que la política regulatoria ha tenido un efecto positivo en la eficiencia de la generación térmica de energía. Por el contrario, las distribuidoras de energía menos eficientes empeoraron después de la reforma y no llevaron a cabo una reestructuración para alcanzar la eficiencia productiva respecto a las empresas que conforman la frontera de eficiencia en distribución de energía.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Pombo & Rodrigo Taborda, 2004. "Performance and efficiency in Colombia's power utilities: an assessment of the 1994 reform," Borradores de Investigación 003322, Universidad del Rosario.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000091:003322

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Megginson, William L & Nash, Robert C & van Randenborgh, Matthias, 1994. "The Financial and Operating Performance of Newly Privatized Firms: An International Empirical Analysis," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(2), pages 403-452, June.
    2. Rafael La Porta & Florencio López-de-Silanes, 1999. "The Benefits of Privatization: Evidence from Mexico," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1193-1242.
    3. Charnes, A. & Cooper, W. W. & Rhodes, E., 1978. "Measuring the efficiency of decision making units," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 2(6), pages 429-444, November.
    4. Hjalmarsson, Lennart & Veiderpass, Ann, 1992. " Productivity in Swedish Electricity Retail Distribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages 193-205, Supplemen.
    5. Mark Armstrong & Simon Cowan & John Vickers, 1994. "Regulatory Reform: Economic Analysis and British Experience," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262510790, December.
    6. Pacudan, Romeo & de Guzman, Elaine, 2002. "Impact of energy efficiency policy to productive efficiency of electricity distribution industry in the Philippines," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 41-54, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Tooraj Jamasb & Rabindra Nepal & Govinda Timilsina & Michael Toman, 2014. "Energy Sector Reform, Economic Efficiency and Poverty Reduction," Discussion Papers Series 529, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    2. Jamasb,Tooraj & Nepal,Rabindra & Timilsina,Govinda R., 2015. "A quarter century effort yet to come of age : a survey of power sector reforms in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7330, The World Bank.
    3. Tim Coelli & Denis Lawrence (ed.), 2006. "Performance Measurement and Regulation of Network Utilities," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3801.

    More about this item


    Privatization; industrial restrucuring; Colombian power sector; regulatory reform;

    JEL classification:

    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:col:000091:003322. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Facultad de Economía). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.