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Denis is one of Australia's foremost experts in performance measurement and benchmarking of regulated network businesses. For the past 25 years he has played a leading role in the regulation, benchmarking and performance measurement of infrastructure enterprises. Denis has advised Australian and overseas regulators and utilities on a wide range of quantitative and strategic issues in the energy, telecommunications, post and transport sectors.

Some of Denis' recent projects include:

  • advising the AER on economic benchmarking of electricity distribution and transmission networks;
  • advising Australian energy distribution businesses on productivity measurement issues and their regulatory implications;
  • advising Australia Post on the cost implications of declining mail volumes;
  • advising the ACCC and AEMC on incentive regulation;
  • advising the New Zealand Commerce Commission on the implementation of productivity-based regulation for electricity and gas distribution; and,
  • advising regulators and utilities on service quality incentives.

Prior to joining Economic Insights, Denis was a Director of Meyrick and Associates and held senior executive positions in the Bureau of Industry Economics and the Industry Commission.


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John's areas of expertise encompass economic regulation, competition policy, industrial economics, international economics, public enterprise reform, public finance, economic development, macroeconomics, quantitative analysis, and economic modelling.

John has advised and acted as an expert witness on a wide range of economic regulation and governance matters. He has particular expertise in regulatory arrangements for private and public monopoly-type entities. He has also supervised projects assessing the commercial and economy-wide benefits of major investments, particularly infrastructure investments. John has also been the lead consultant and team leader for many ADB, AusAID and World Bank economic development projects, particularly in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

From 2012 to 2014 John was Director of Research at the Queensland Competition Authority and also helped establish the Office of Best Practice Regulation at the Authority. From 2012 to 2015 he developed and taught a Master's level course in Infrastructure Regulation at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University. In 2015 and 2016 he developed and taught a Master's level course in Globalisation and Economic Development at the University of Queensland.

Prior to becoming a consultant, John worked at the OECD on macroeconomic issues, at the Industry Commission (now the Productivity Commission) on economic reforms, at the Queensland Treasury on public enterprise issues and early in his career at the Reserve Bank of Australia.


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Michael Cunningham is an Associate of Economic Insights and previously spent more than a decade as a senior regulatory manager with the Essential Services Commission of Victoria. Michael has extensive experience in the regulation of energy, water and transport networks and in detailed productivity analysis.

Michael has led ESC reviews of various access regimes and undertaken research on cost of capital issues. He helped develop Victoria's minimum feed-in tariffs and has undertaken productivity analyses and operating expenditure forecasting for a number of gas distribution businesses. He has also conducted research into Victoria's energy retail market, including methods for estimating retailer margins, and research into emerging regulatory issues such as household electricity control products.

Michael produced the ESC's analysis of the productivity of the Victorian water industry in 2012 and, on secondment to the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission in 2011 for the Inquiry into a State-Based Reform Agenda, he was lead author of its Productivity Information Paper.

Prior to working at the ESC, Michael worked at Gascor Pty Ltd on natural gas supply prices, at Credit Suisse First Boston on financial analysis of listed infrastructure businesses and at the Gas & Fuel Corporation of Victoria on quantitative analysis and tariff design.

At Economic Insights Michael has worked on a number of productivity, cost and regulated pricing studies in the energy, telecommunications and water sectors. In a recent assignment he had prime responsibility for preparing a number of papers on using data envelopment analysis in the benchmarking of electricity network businesses for the Netherlands economic regulator.


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John Kain is an Associate of Economic Insights and Principal of Erldunda Associates.

John has extensive electricity distribution engineering experience at both technical and management levels having served as Chief Engineer of ACT Electricity and Water. Since leaving ACTEW John has consulted to a wide range of distribution businesses and regulators on price setting and cost analysis. John is a former Board Member of Australia's National Electricity Code Administrator.

John helps to ensure that our energy team combines solid 'top down' economic modelling skills with sound 'bottom up' power distribution engineering experience.

John's recent assignments include:

  • advising the AER on economic benchmarking of electricity distribution and transmission networks;
  • undertaking analysis of electricity and gas retail customer characteristics for the AEMC;
  • construction of detailed databases to support electricity distribution business performance analysis for the NZ Commerce Commission; and
  • constructing a detailed database of US gas business outputs and inputs for efficiency analysis.


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Tim Coelli is an Associate of Economic Insights and a Partner in Coelli Economic Consulting Services. Prior to 2009, he was Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland where he was and still remains one of Australia's most highly cited academic economists, in particular in the productivity and efficiency analysis field. He has authored five books on the subject and has over 40 related articles in leading academic journals. He has authored a number of widely used computer programs for calculating total factor productivity indices and measuring efficiency levels using stochastic frontier analysis and data envelopment analysis.

Tim has undertaken numerous productivity and efficiency analysis consulting projects in areas as diverse as electricity distribution, water supply, telecommunications, defence, national parks, health and aged care, tertiary education and agriculture. His clients include Electricité de France, the World Bank, Telstra, NSW Treasury, Water Supply Association of Australia and the Royal Australian Navy.

Tim has lectured in theoretical and applied econometrics to undergraduate and graduate students for more than twenty years. He has also presented many training courses on productivity and efficiency analysis and has refereed articles in over 70 leading academic journals. He has held visiting positions at universities in Belgium, Spain and the UK.


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Erwin Diewert is an Associate of Economic Insights and Professor of Economics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Erwin is recognised as one of the world's foremost experts on productivity and performance measurement where his contributions over the last 30 years have laid the foundations for modern index number and duality theory, the underpinnings of total factor productivity measurement.

Erwin has made major contributions in efficiency and productivity analysis, index number theory, price level measurement, trade theory, taxation reform, applications of duality theory, general equilibrium modelling, the measurement of waste and welfare, and functional form problems in producer and consumer theory. He has published over 80 separate papers in the world's leading economics journals, has authored 10 books and made major contributions to another 100 books.

Erwin is also a leading analyst of regulatory issues including:

  • the design of incentive schemes for regulated firms including price cap plans;
  • measurement issues associated with incentive plans; and
  • the measurement of productivity for regulated industries.
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