The diversity in customers’ appetites should be considered by more utilities when pricing products.
Michael T. O’Sheasy
Does the volatility of the customer’s energy cost create much concern regarding the impact on the customer’s core business? One customer may be very comfortable taking on significant electricity cost risk to obtain electricity price and subsequent bill concessions. Another may be willing and anxious to pay a premium to accept less electricity cost risk than normal. Both of these customers, and all the customers in between, should be offered products that fit their needs, and these products should be priced upon sound risk fundamentals.
The D.C. Circuit once observed that the Mobile-Sierra doctrine is “refreshingly simple.” In fact, however, the doctrine has become incredibly nuanced and complex over time. In two concurrently issued decisions, the court has discovered new prerequisites to the initial application of the doctrine, changed the independent “public interest” review standard into a presumption, and has jettisoned that presumption entirely when contract prices are too high as opposed to too low.
IT officers are getting more efficient, but guess what keeps them up at night?
Ever-present security concerns are keeping utility chief information officers up at night. With their IT budgets under constraints in a back-to-basics era, four CIOs speak out about their concerns over funding, staffing, and the future.
In the minds of many policy-makers, DR has become associated with rate shocks, rate volatility, unpredictability, and loss of control over energy costs—the very things DR was designed to overcome. What can be done to change this?
Everyone is in favor of more demand response, but little gets delivered when system operators need it the most.
Scott Neumann, Fereidoon Sioshansi, Ali Vojdani, and Gaymond Yee
Despite overwhelming theoretical and empirical evidence, we aren’t seeing more DR when it is needed most—during emergency periods. The reasons boil down to two obstacles, both of which must be addressed before widespread DR implementation can move forward.
Sam Newell, Frank Felder, and Johannes Pfeifenberger
When summer heat waves cause electric demand to peak, they also often cause wholesale electricity prices to rise substantially above their average levels. However, since most electricity customers face retail rates that do not reflect this movement in wholesale market prices, they do not modify their consumption patterns, causing a significant drop in economic efficiency. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 calls upon states and utilities to evaluate and implement DR programs to mitigate this problem.
Dominion and AEP want to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but re-regulation could get messy.
Richard Stavros, Executive Editor
Is it possible to go back to the way things were? Nostalgia for the old regulated model seems to be waxing of late, particularly in Virginia. The 70-percent rate increases in Maryland last year at the expiration of price caps—part of the transition to electric competition—has become the calamity that some state regulators fear most. Several utilities are pushing for re-regulation.
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