Journal of Regulatory Economics

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 281–308 | Cite as

Price-Cost Margins and Profit Rates in New Zealand Electricity Distribution Networks Since 1994: the Cost of Light Handed Regulation

Abstract

From 1994 to 2003, New Zealand’s corporatized electricity lines networks operated with no industry regulator, but under the spotlight of mandatory information disclosure. As a result there exists a large body of detailed, audited and publicly available accounting data on the financial performance of these businesses. Using that data, this paper finds that price-cost margins have widened substantially since deregulation. We estimate the extent to which ‘‘light-handed regulation’’ has allowed profits to exceed the levels which would have been acceptable under the old rate-of-return regulatory framework, and find that the answer is about $200 million per year, on an ongoing basis.

Keywords

market power electricity industry deregulation utility regulation excess profits 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics and FinanceVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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