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Unobserved heterogeneous effects in the cost efficiency analysis of electricity distribution systems

Author

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  • AGRELL, Per

    (Université catholique de Louvain, CORE and Louvain School of Management, Belgium)

  • FARSI, Mehdi

    (University of Neuchatel)

  • FILIPPINI, Massimo

    (ETH Zurich and University of Lugano)

  • KOLLER, Martin

    (ETH Zurich)

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to analyze the cost efficiency of electricity distribution systems in order to enable regulatory authorities to establish price- or revenue cap regulation regimes. The increasing use of efficiency analysis in the last decades has raised serious concerns among regulators and companies regarding the reliability of efficiency estimates. One important dimension affecting the reliability is the presence of unobserved factors. Since these factors are treated differently in various models, the resulting estimates can vary across methods. Therefore, we decompose the benchmarking process into two steps. In the first step, we identify classes of similar companies with comparable network and structural characteristics using a latent class cost model. We obtain cost best practice within each class in the second step, based on deterministic and stochastic cost frontier models. The results of this analysis show that the decomposition of the benchmarking process into two steps has reduced unobserved heterogeneity within classes and, hence, reduced the unexplained variance previously claimed as inefficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • AGRELL, Per & FARSI, Mehdi & FILIPPINI, Massimo & KOLLER, Martin, 2013. "Unobserved heterogeneous effects in the cost efficiency analysis of electricity distribution systems," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2013003, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2013003
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    Cited by:

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    2. Li, Hong-Zhou & Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Maria & Yan, Ming-Zhe & Wang, Jian-Lin & Xie, Bai-Chen, 2019. "Which provincial administrative regions in China should reduce their coal consumption? An environmental energy input requirement function based analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 51-63.
    3. Li, Hong-Zhou & Kopsakangas-Savolainen, Maria & Xiao, Xing-Zhi & Lau, Sim-Yee, 2017. "Have regulatory reforms improved the efficiency levels of the Japanese electricity distribution sector? A cost metafrontier-based analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 606-616.
    4. Núñez, F. & Arcos-Vargas, A. & Villa, G., 2020. "Efficiency benchmarking and remuneration of Spanish electricity distribution companies," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    5. Massimo Filippini & Luis Orea, 2014. "Applications of the stochastic frontier approach in Energy Economics," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 3(1), pages 35-42.
    6. Agrell, P & Brea-Solís, H., 2015. "Stationarity of Heterogeneity in Production Technology using Latent Class Modelling," LIDAM Discussion Papers CORE 2015047, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    7. Llorca, Manuel & Orea, Luis & Pollit, Michael G., 2013. "Using in the latent class approach as a supervised method to cluster firms in DEA: An application to the US electricity transmission industry," Efficiency Series Papers 2013/03, University of Oviedo, Department of Economics, Oviedo Efficiency Group (OEG).
    8. Haney, Aoife Brophy & Pollitt, Michael G., 2013. "International benchmarking of electricity transmission by regulators: A contrast between theory and practice?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 267-281.
    9. Mirza, Faisal Mehmood & Rizvi, Syed Badar-Ul-Husnain & Bergland, Olvar, 2021. "Service quality, technical efficiency and total factor productivity growth in Pakistan's post-reform electricity distribution companies," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    10. Llorca, Manuel & Orea, Luis & Pollitt, Michael G., 2014. "Using the latent class approach to cluster firms in benchmarking: An application to the US electricity transmission industry," Operations Research Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 6-17.
    11. Stefano Mainardi, 2021. "Parametric and Semiparametric Efficiency Frontiers in Fishery Analysis: Overview and Case Study on the Falkland Islands," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 79(2), pages 169-210, June.
    12. Ronald G. McGarvey & Andreas Thorsen & Maggie L. Thorsen & Rohith Madhi Reddy, 2019. "Measuring efficiency of community health centers: a multi-model approach considering quality of care and heterogeneous operating environments," Health Care Management Science, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 489-511, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficiency analysis; cost function; electricity sector; incentive regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L92 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Railroads and Other Surface Transportation
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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