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Benchmarking as a management and regulatory instrument for Caribbean electric utilities

Steven Martina (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Rudi Hakvoort (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)
Virendra Ajodhia (Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands)

International Journal of Energy Sector Management

ISSN: 1750-6220

Article publication date: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

One of the most pressing questions facing small‐island development states (SIDS) is the appropriate way in which to operate and manage their infrastructure industries. After all SIDS are faced with high cost of infrastructure due to the narrow markets and diseconomies of scale and remoteness.

Design/methodology/approach

For small‐island utilities in the Caribbean region, a benchmark has been performed to demonstrate objectively how utilities cost, as well as their service quality, compare over time and with other utilities. About 15 utilities of 17 Caribbean countries were included in the benchmark. Based on these outcomes, the current efficiency and possible efficiency gains were determined (which may differ significantly from the current “best‐practice” of utilities in developed countries) which provide a basis to set targets that are achievable.

Findings

In this paper, the conducted Caribbean benchmark studies will be further elaborated and the applicability as management tool and regulatory tool to compare performance within the region will be assessed. One of the preliminary conclusions of the study is that the incentive‐based approaches adopted in many countries do not necessarily work within the context of SIDS (and their specific characteristics and limitations), so that a different regulatory model needs to be developed.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis was performed based on data of one year. Analysis based on multi‐year data can provide trends in efficiency and will identify the development of the utilities' performance. Cost data was not used in this analysis due to lack of availability. Also, inclusion of reliability data representing frequency of interruptions and duration of interruption in the analysis would provide a more holistic indication of efficiency.

Originality/value

The paper offers insight into the current restructuring of the electricity supply in the Caribbean region.

Keywords

Citation

Martina, S., Hakvoort, R. and Ajodhia, V. (2008), "Benchmarking as a management and regulatory instrument for Caribbean electric utilities", International Journal of Energy Sector Management, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 75-89. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506220810859105

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited