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Is mandating "smart meters" smart?

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  • Léautier, Thomas-Olivier

Abstract

The advent of "smart meters" will make possible Real Time Pricing 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 Real Time Pricing. First, it derives this marginal value for a simple yet realistic specification of demand. Second, using data from the French power market, it estimates that, for the vast majority of residential customers whose peak demand is lower than 6 kV A, the net surplus from switching to Real Time Pricing is lower than 1 euro/year for low demand elasticity, 4 euros/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

  • Léautier, Thomas-Olivier, 2012. "Is mandating "smart meters" smart?," IDEI Working Papers 747, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:26342
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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.
    2. 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.
    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. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Rethinking real-time electricity pricing," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 820-842.
    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. Hunt Allcott, 2012. "The Smart Grid, Entry, and Imperfect Competition in Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 18071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2005. "Household Electricity Demand, Revisited," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 853-883.
    8. Lijesen, Mark G., 2007. "The real-time price elasticity of electricity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 249-258, March.
    9. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    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, 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Pahle, Michael & Schill, Wolf-Peter & Gambardella, Christian & Tietjen, Oliver, 2016. "Renewable Energy Support, Negative Prices, and Real-time Pricing," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 147-169.
    4. 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.
    5. Silvia Concettini & Anna Creti, 2013. "Liberalization of electricity retailing in Europe: coming back or going forth?," Working Papers hal-00915924, HAL.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. Tunç Durmaz & Aude Pommeret & Ian Ridley, 2017. "Willingness to Pay for Solar Panels and Smart Grids," Working Papers 2017.24, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    9. 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.
    10. Dato, Prudence & Durmaz, Tunç & Pommeret, Aude, 2020. "Smart grids and renewable electricity generation by households," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    electric power markets; demand response; smart grid;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities

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