I have been spending most of the past two weeks reading the Wolak report for the Commerce Commission into electricity pricing, in preparation for a presentation on the report next Monday at the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation in Wellington. This was the report that found that electricity generators had earned $4.3b from exercising market power since 2001.
I'll blog a bit next week on my take on the report, but an immediate reaction was a bit of deja vu after following Eric and Matt's work on the Berl report. In both cases, we have a public institution commissioning an independent report that produces an implausibly high number that is then put out into the public domain. Both reports were subject to external review prior to being released. And both have some questionable aspects to say the least that did not seem to be spotted by the external reviewers.
I wonder if a better approach to publically commissioned reviews of this nature would be to change the order: Release a preliminary version of the report, seek public comment, and then submit both the draft and the public feedback for external review.