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La elasticidad de la demanda por electricidad y la política energética

Listed author(s):
  • Galetovic, Alexander

    (Centro de Economía de la Empresa, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de los Andes y Centro de Estudios Públicos)

  • Muñoz, Cristián M.

    (AES Gener S.A. y departamento de Ingeniería Eléctrica, Universidad Católica de Chile)

Registered author(s):

    Energy policy makers usually ignore the response of the demand for electricity to changing prices because they believe that the price elasticity is nil. We show that a “small” price elasticity of demand generates “large” changes in energy shortage probabilities and generation costs when the system operates near capacity for extended periods. The reason is that in the neighborhood of the system’s capacity, the short run electricity supply curve is nearly vertical. We make our point by simulating the expected operation of Chile’s Central Interconnected System between 2006 and 2010, after the onset of the Argentine gas supply cuts. We show that price increases wrought by the postponement of investments in new plant and gas supply cuts, combined with a “small” monthly price elasticity of demand (0.0548 in absolute value), were enough to drastically reduce the probability of an energy shortage and return it to normal levels. Furthermore, if one ignores the response of demand to price, expected marginal costs are overestimated by 32% and expected total operation costs by 41%.// En el análisis y la práctica de la política energética se suele suponer que la elasticidad de la demanda por energía eléctrica es irrelevante. Este trabajo muestra que durante episodios de escasez de energía una “pequeña” elasticidad basta para generar caídas “grandes” de la probabilidad de déficit y del costo del abastecimiento eléctrico. Esto se debe a que en la vecindad de la capacidad del sistema, la oferta de energía de corto plazo es cercana a vertical. Ilustramos nuestro punto cuantitativamente simulando la operación esperada del sistema eléctrico chileno durante los años de ajuste a la crisis causada por los cortes de gas argentinos, el periodo 2006-2010. Mostramos que el aumento de los precios causado por el retraso de las inversiones y los cortes de gas argentino, combinado con una “pequeña” elasticidad de la demanda mensual por energía (0.0548 en valor absoluto) eran suficientes para reducir mucho la probabilidad de déficit mensual y retornarla a niveles normales. Más aún, si se soslaya el efecto de los mayores precios en el consumo, el costo marginal se sobreestima en 32% y el costo de operación esperado en 41 por ciento.

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    Article provided by Fondo de Cultura Económica in its journal El Trimestre Económico.

    Volume (Year): LXXVII (2) (2010)
    Issue (Month): 306 (abril-junio)
    Pages: 313-341

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    Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:77:y:2010:i:306:p:313-341
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