Pricing

Maximum Burden

The electricity price increases from the proposed EPA Utility MACT will act as a regressive tax on the elderly.

Although EPA claims its tough new clean air regulations will improve public health, in fact they’ll measurably degrade the health of Florida seniors.

What Price, GHGs?

Calculating the implied value of CO2 abatement in green energy policies.

Renewable portfolio standards and other green energy rules put a price on environmental benefits. Calculating this price can help clarify the social value of GHG reductions.

Rate Design by Objective

A purposeful approach to setting energy prices.

Changes in regulatory requirements, market structures, and operational technologies have introduced complexities that traditional ratemaking approaches can’t address. Poorly designed rates lead to cross-subsidies, inequitable outcomes, and perverse incentives. An objective-based approach can better communicate costs to customers in a way that better serves operations and policy goals.

Pre-Funding to Mitigate Rate Shock

Re-starting the Big Build calls for revisiting cost-recovery mechanisms.

As the industry resumes major capital-spending programs, utilities and their stakeholders are rightly concerned about the effects on prices. Traditional regulatory approaches expose utilities to risks and costs, and can bring rate shock when capital spending finally makes its way into customers’ bills. Pre-funding investments can provide a smoother on-ramp to bearing the costs of a 21st-Century utility system — but it also raises questions for utilities to address.

Energy Subsidy Myths and Realities

Playing favorites or ‘all of the above’?

In the past 60 years, the U.S. government has invested in every part of the energy industry, through direct subsidies, tax incentives, regulatory mandates, research projects, etc. Quantifying the dollar impact is a complex task, but it’s necessary for understanding the realities of U.S. federal energy policy.

Smart Pricing, Smart Charging

Can time-of-use rates drive the behavior of electric vehicle owners?

Time-of-use (TOU) pricing might seem like the ultimate solution to ensure electric vehicle charging loads won’t overburden the grid. But will TOU rates guide drivers’ behavior when it’s time to top up their batteries? Early indicators suggest the answer varies among vehicle owners and pricing plans.

Lighting Up the World

Why electricity is good—and more is better.

A century of electrification shows clearly that more electricity—and cheaper electricity—enhances public health, raises living standards and also improves the environment. Conversely, higher prices harm businesses and families, with a disproportionate impact on low-income households. Public welfare goals are best served by public policies that make electricity more accessible and affordable to the masses—not less.

Restructuring Realities

Can higher electricity prices be more affordable?

Over the past four years, power prices increased significantly in both restructured and non-restructured states—but then the recession and falling gas prices changed the picture for retail electricity rates. Comparing various states shows a surprising result: In restructured states, electricity bills are more affordable—even though rates are higher.

Greening Connecticut

Aligning renewable energy incentives with RPS compliance.

States’ green energy policies are being used to serve multiple agendas. Lawmakers should revisit their renewable incentive programs to better align them with policy goals. A regional approach will yield a more efficient portfolio.

Not So Fast

Proving market performance requires detailed analysis.

Now that fuel prices have fallen recently from the highs seen in 2008 and wholesale electricity prices also have decreased, it might be tempting to attribute the lower prices to the restructuring of the wholesale electricity markets. Unfortunately, it’s a little more complicated than that.