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Impact of institutional reforms on the performance of distribution utilities in India – A dynamic panel data analysis

Vinish Kathuria

Energy Policy, 2021, vol. 158, issue C

Abstract: The Indian power sector has seen significant institutional changes in the last two decades. After more than 20 years of reforms, the distribution segment is still incurring losses. To quantify these institutional changes, we construct a reform index and then employ data of 55 power utilities from 29 Indian states for 2007–08 to 2015–16 to see the impact of this index on their financial and technical-cum-commercial performance. This paper contributes to the literature in three ways: a) accounting for the maturity of the reforms while calculating the index, b) relying on the dynamic nature of the reforms, and c) carrying out the analysis at the utility level. We find that once the dynamic nature of the data is accounted for and utility-specific variables are controlled, the reform index influences both the financial and the technical-cum-commercial performance of the utilities. An important policy implication of the present study is that as long as the cost-reflective tariff is still prevalent, the commercial viability of utilities cannot be assured.

Keywords: Reforms; Unbundling; Price-cost margin; AT&C losses; Dynamic panel data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G34 L94 O25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112560

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