The Trouble with Freeriders

The debate about freeridership in energy efficiency isn’t wrong, but it is wrongheaded.

In any conservation or efficiency program, some market participants will reap benefits without paying their share of the costs—i.e., the “freerider” problem. Some freeriders are unavoidable and generally not a problem. But as Cadmus Group analysts Hossein Haeri and M. Sami Khawaja explain, avoiding excessive freeridership requires careful program structuring, as well as ongoing measurement to accurately evaluate outcomes.

Frontiers of Efficiency

What conservation potential assessments tell us about ‘achievable’ efficiency.

Regulators across the country are relying on conservation-potential assessments to guide their policy decisions. Models based on macroeconomic analysis, end-use forecasting and accounting measurements provide different ways to assess the achievability of conservation and efficiency goals.

Extreme Efficiency

Performance standards are a valid idea—if targets are achievable.

Performance standards are a valid and necessary idea to drive conservation, but only if targets are realistic and achievable. So far, success has been determined by program rationality. A uniform, market-based approach would give retailers flexibility to spur innovation.

Ontario's Failed Experiment (Part 2)

Service quality suffers under PBR framework.

Building upon last month’s installment, more is revealed on how, after 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario.

Ontario's Failed Experiment (Part 1)

Reliability declines after 10 years of incentive regulation.

After 10 years of incentive regulation, reliability has declined in Ontario. Regulators failed to enforce service-quality standards, and consumers are suffering as a result.

Smart-Grid Strategy: Quantifying Benefits

Modeling the value of various technologies and applications.

As utilities announce new smart-grid programs, they need a strategic method for quantifying benefits. Analytical models generate baseline benefit estimates and reveal big-picture trends. Decision makers need the best resources available to mitigate risks in choosing a smart-grid strategy.

Stabilizing California's Demand

The real reasons behind the state’s energy savings.

In 2006, the California legislature and governor positioned energy conservation and efficiency as the cornerstone of the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act. The Act mandates a 2020 statewide limit on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels. Compliance will be nothing short of Herculean: California will have to reduce per capita energy usage in a manner that accommodates continued brisk population growth and protects the state’s economy from economic dislocations and recessionary pressures.

A Business Case: Energy Efficiency in the New Environment

Investments in energy efficiency can be a growing revenue source. Strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

To turn efficiency investments into a growing revenue source, strong programs, in conjunction with effective monitoring and verification, are the keys to success.

A Consumer Advocate's View: Decoupling and Energy Efficiency

Two sides of the same coin.

When I became the Consumers’ Counsel for the state of Ohio in April 2004, natural-gas prices were hovering between $7/Mcf and $8/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). In the next year and a half, Ohioans saw gas prices double, peaking at a residential statewide average of $16.89/Mcf in the month of September 2005. The latter reflects the exacerbation of prices, already high, by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the gulf region. The purpose of this article is not to focus on the national security and energy independence issues that arise from these circumstances, but rather to examine what we can do in the United States to ensure affordable and reliable supplies for residential consumers in both the short and long term.

Smart Meters on The March

New federal policies portend a wave of demand-response programs, and perhaps a new era in resource planning.

When President Bush signed the energy bill on August 8, he set in motion a chain of events that might lead to major changes in the way utilities price and meter retail electric services—and ultimately in the way they value and use non-traditional energy resources.