EP 35

D Giannakis, Tooraj Jamasb, Michael Pollitt

Benchmarking and Incentive Regulation of Quality of Service: an Application to the UK Electricity Distribution Utilities

EP 35  | Non-Technical Summary | PDF

Abstract: Quality of service has emerged as an important issue in post-reform regulation of electricity distribution networks. Regulators have employed partial incentive schemes to promote cost saving, investment efficiency, and service quality. This paper presents a quality-incorporated benchmarking study of the electricity distribution utilities in the UK between 1991/92 and 1998/99. We calculate technical efficiency of the utilities using Data Envelopment Analysis technique and productivity change over time using quality-incorporated Malmquist indices. We find that cost efficient firms do not necessarily exhibit high service quality and that efficiency scores of cost-only models do not show high correlation with those of quality-based models. The results also show that improvements in service quality have made a significant contribution to the sector’s total productivity change. In addition, we show that integrating quality of service in regulatory benchmarking is preferable to cost-only approaches.

Keywords: quality of service, benchmarking, incentive regulation, data envelopment analysis, electricity

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