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The Long-Run Efficiency of Real-Time Electricity Pricing

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  • Severin Borenstein

Abstract

Retail real-time pricing (RTP) of electricity Ð retail pricing that changes hourly to reflect the changing supply/demand balance Ð is very appealing to economists because it Òsends the right price signals.Ó Economic efficiency gains from RTP, however, are often confused with the short-term wealth transfers from producers to consumers that RTP can create. Abstracting from transfers, I focus on the long-run efficiency gains from adopting RTP in a competitive electricity market. Using simple simulations with realistic parameters, I demonstrate that the magnitude of efficiency gains from RTP is likely to be significant even if demand shows very little elasticity. I also show that Òtime-of-useÓ pricing, a simple peak and off-peak pricing system, is likely to capture a very small share of the efficiency gains that RTP offers.

Suggested Citation

  • Severin Borenstein, 2005. "The Long-Run Efficiency of Real-Time Electricity Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 93-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2005v26-03-a05
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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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