In recent years, a number of empirical studies and energy regulators have applied benchmarking techniques to measuring the efficiency and performance of network utilities. An important issue has been the extent to which the results are influenced by contextual factors. Among these, weather factors are frequently discussed as being important. We use factor analysis and two-stage data envelopment analysis techniques to examine the effect of a set of important weather factors (gale, hail, temperatures, rainfall and thunder) on the performance of electricity distribution networks in the UK. The results indicate that such factors often do not have a significant economic and statistical effect on the overall performance of the utilities. The weather parameters in some models are significant in terms of economic efficiency. The results echo our previous findings of the importance of extending the basic model to include other inputs such as total expenditure (Totex), customer minutes lost (CML) and network energy losses in regulatory benchmarking.
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