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Yardstick Regulation of Electricity Distribution – Disentangling Short-run and Long-run Inefficiencies

Subal C. Kumbhakar and Gudbrand Lien

Year: 2017
Volume: Volume 38
Number: Number 5
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In this paper we estimate the short-run, long-run and overall efficiency of Norwegian electricity distribution companies for the period 2000-2013 controlling for both noise and company effects. Short-run inefficiency is the part of inefficiency that is allowed to adjust freely over time for each company, but long-run (persistent) inefficiency remains constant over time, although it is allowed to vary across companies. For robustness check we also consider two additional models in which either company effects are not controlled or these are treated as inefficiency. The production technology is represented by a translog input distance function in all three models. We find that technical change and returns to scale are quite robust across the models. However, the efficiency scores across the three models we consider are not correlated strongly. We conclude that the regulators and practitioners should take extra caution in using the proper model in practice, especially when the efficiency measures are used to reward/punish companies through incentives for better performance.

Disentangling Costs of Persistent and Transient Technical Inefficiency and Input Misallocation: The Case of Norwegian Electricity Distribution Firms

Subal C. Kumbhakar, Orjan Mydland, Andrew Musau, and Gudbrand Lien

Year: 2020
Volume: Volume 41
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.3.skum
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Numerous studies have focused on estimating technical inefficiency in electricity distribution firms. However, most of these studies did not distinguish between persistent and transient technical inefficiency. Furthermore, almost none of the studies estimated the cost of input misallocation arising from non-optimal use of inputs. One reason is that the cost function (input distance function) typically used in the literature does not allow for the separation of technical inefficiency and allocative inefficiency. In this study, we estimate both the persistent and transient components of technical inefficiency and input misallocation of Norwegian electricity distribution firms, using panel data from 2000 to 2016. Our modeling and estimation strategy is to use a system approach, consisting of the production function and the first-order conditions of cost minimization. Input misallocation for each pair of inputs is modeled via the first-order conditions of cost minimization. We also estimate the costs of each component of technical inefficiency and input misallocation by deriving the cost function for a multi-output separable production technology. Our modeling and estimation strategy handles endogeneity of inputs. Finally, we allow for inclusion of determinants of persistent and transient technical inefficiency. Our results show that the costs of input misallocation of Norwegian electricity distribution firms are non-negligible.

The Effect of Restructuring Electricity Distribution Systems on Firms’ Persistent and Transient Efficiency: The Case of Germany

Oleg Badunenko, Astrid Cullmann, Subal C. Kumbhakar, and Maria Nieswand

Year: 2021
Volume: Volume 42
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.42.4.obad
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We evaluate the efficiency of electricity distribution operators (DSOs) as providers of local public infrastructure. In particular, we consider two types of efficiency, i.e., short-term (transient) and long-term (persistent). We apply the recently developed four-component stochastic frontier model, which allows identifying determinants of the two types of efficiency, after controlling for firm heterogeneity and random noise, to a panel dataset of German DSOs observed during 2006�2012. Those DSOs operating in the eastern parts of Germany have undergone a profound restructuring after the reunification in 1990. We find that this was beneficial for their efficiency as they perform, on average, better in terms of persistent efficiency than DSOs in West Germany. Both eastern and western DSOs perform similarly well in terms of transient efficiency, which is expected as the sector is highly regulated. As such, we provide new insights on identifying the nature and sources of public infrastructure productive inefficiency, which is relevant for public policies.

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