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Rethinking real-time electricity pricing

  • Allcott, Hunt
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    Most US consumers are charged a near-constant retail price for electricity, despite substantial hourly variation in the wholesale market price. This paper evaluates the first program to expose residential consumers to hourly real-time pricing (RTP). I find that enrolled households are statistically significantly price elastic and that consumers responded by conserving energy during peak hours, but remarkably did not increase average consumption during off-peak times. The program increased consumer surplus by $10 per household per year. While this is only one to two percent of electricity costs, it illustrates a potential additional benefit from investment in retail Smart Grid applications, including the advanced electricity meters required to observe a household’s hourly consumption.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092876551100042X
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resource and Energy Economics.

    Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 820-842

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:33:y:2011:i:4:p:820-842
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505569

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    1. Severin Borenstein & Stephen Holland, 2005. "On the Efficiency of Competitive Electricity Markets with Time-Invariant Retail Prices," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 469-493, Autumn.
    2. Joskow, Paul & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Retail Electricity Competition," IDEI Working Papers 311, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    3. Robert H. Patrick & Frank A. Wolak, 2001. "Estimating the Customer-Level Demand for Electricity Under Real-Time Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 8213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2007. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," NBER Working Papers 13508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2006. "The Short-Run Effects of Time-Varying Prices in Competitive Electricity Markets," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 127-156.
    6. Lucas W. Davis, 2008. "Durable goods and residential demand for energy and water: evidence from a field trial," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(2), pages 530-546.
    7. Paul L. Joskow & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Reliability and Competitive Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 10472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2005. "Household Electricity Demand, Revisited," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 853-883.
    9. Herriges, Joseph A, et al, 1993. "The Response of Industrial Customers to Electric Rates Based upon Dynamic Marginal Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 446-54, August.
    10. Aigner, Dennis J., 1984. "The welfare econometrics of peak-load pricing for electricity : Editor's Introduction," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 1-15.
    11. Thomas Taylor & Peter Schwarz & James Cochell, 2005. "24/7 Hourly Response to Electricity Real-Time Pricing with up to Eight Summers of Experience," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 235-262, 01.
    12. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2008. "What changes energy consumption? Prices and public pressures," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 636-663.
    13. 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.
    14. Severin Borenstein, 2007. "Wealth Transfers Among Large Customers from Implementing Real-Time Retail Electricity Pricing," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 131-150.
    15. Jaffe, Adam B. & Stavins, Robert N., 1994. "The energy paradox and the diffusion of conservation technology," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 91-122, May.
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