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Is Mandating "Smart Meters" Smart?

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  • Thomas-Olivier Leautier

Abstract

The advent of "smart meters" will make possible Real Time Pricing (RTP) of electricity: customers will face and react to wholesale spot prices, thus consumption of electric power will be aligned with its opportunity cost. This article determines the marginal value of a fraction of demand (or a consumer) switching to RTP, conditional on smart meters installation. First, it establishes sufficient conditions for the marginal value of RTP to be decreasing as the fraction of customers on RTP increases. Second, it derives this marginal value for a simple yet realistic specification of demand. Finally, using data from the French power market, it estimates that, for the vast majority of residential customers whose peak demand is lower than 6 kVA, the net surplus from switching to RTP is lower than 1 €/year for low demand elasticity, 4 €/year for high demand elasticity. This finding casts a doubt on the economic value of rolling out smart meters to all residential customers, for both policy makers and power suppliers.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas-Olivier Leautier, 2014. "Is Mandating "Smart Meters" Smart?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4).
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:ej35-4-06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Reliability and competitive electricity markets," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 38(1), pages 60-84, March.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Are smart meters worth it?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-12-04 21:35:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Gambardella, Christian & Pahle, Michael & Schill, Wolf-Peter, 2020. "Do Benefits from Dynamic Tariffing Rise? Welfare Effects of Real-Time Retail Pricing Under Carbon Taxation and Variable Renewable Electricity Supply," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 183-213.
    2. Silvia Concettini & Anna Creti, 2013. "Liberalization of electricity retailing in Europe: coming back or going forth?," Working Papers hal-00915924, HAL.
    3. Dahlke, Steven & Prorok, Matt, 2018. "Consumer savings, price, and emissions impacts of increasing demand response in the Midcontinent electricity market," OSF Preprints d83bu, Center for Open Science.
    4. Tunç Durmaz & Aude Pommeret & Ian Ridley, 2017. "Willingness to Pay for Solar Panels and Smart Grids," Working Papers 2017.24, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Thomas-Olivier Léautier, 2016. "The Visible Hand: Ensuring Optimal Investment in Electric Power Generation," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    6. Gambardella, Christian & Pahle, Michael, 2018. "Time-varying electricity pricing and consumer heterogeneity: Welfare and distributional effects with variable renewable supply," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 257-273.
    7. Leautier, Thomas-Olivier, 2018. "On the long-term impact price caps: Investment, uncertainty, imperfect competition, and rationing," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 53-95.
    8. Christian Gambardella & Michael Pahle & Wolf-Peter Schill, 2016. "Do Benefits from Dynamic Tariffing Rise? Welfare Effects of Real-Time Pricing under Carbon-Tax-Induced Variable Renewable Energy Supply," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1621, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Michael Pahle, Wolf-Peter Schill, Christian Gambardella, and Oliver Tietjen, 2016. "Renewable Energy Support, Negative Prices, and Real-time Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Sustainab).
    10. Dato, Prudence & Durmaz, Tunç & Pommeret, Aude, 2020. "Smart grids and renewable electricity generation by households," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    11. Michael Pahle, Wolf-Peter Schill, Christian Gambardella, and Oliver Tietjen, 2016. "Renewable Energy Support, Negative Prices, and Real-time Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Sustainab).

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