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[en] The quality of electricity distribution is being more and more scrutinized by regulatory authorities, with explicit reward and penalty schemes based on quality targets having been introduced in many countries. It is then of prime importance to know the cost of improving the quality for a distribution system operator. In this paper, we focus on one dimension of quality, the continuity of supply, and we estimated the cost of preventing power outages. For that, we make use of the parametric distance function approach, assuming that outages enter in the firm production set as an input, an imperfect substitute for maintenance activities and capital investment. This allows us to identify the sources of technical inefficiency and the underlying trade-off faced by operators between quality and other inputs and costs. For this purpose, we use panel data on 92 electricity distribution units operated by ERDF (Electricité de France - Réseau Distribution) in the 2003–2005 financial years. Assuming a multi-output multi-input translog technology, we estimate that the cost of preventing one interruption is equal to 10.7€ for an average DSO. Furthermore, as one would expect, marginal quality improvements tend to be more expensive as quality itself improves. - Highlights: ► We estimate the implicit cost of outages for the main distribution company in France. ► For this purpose, we make use of a parametric distance function approach. ► Marginal quality improvements tend to be more expensive as quality itself improves. ► The cost of preventing one interruption varies from 1.8 € to 69.2 € (2005 prices). ► We estimate that, in average, it lays 33% above the regulated price of quality.