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Why Higher Price Sensitivity of Consumers May Increase Average Prices: An Analysis of the European Electricity Market

Author

Listed:
  • Paulun, Tobias

    () (Institute of Power Systems and Power Economics, RWTH Aachen University)

  • Feess, Eberhard

    () (Frankfurt School of Finance & Management)

  • Madlener, Reinhard

    () (E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN))

Abstract

We develop a model of the European electricity market that allows analyzing the impact of consumers' price sensitivity, defined as the willingness to change energy providers, on equilibrium prices. The model is parameterized with publicly available data on total demand, marginal costs and capacity constraints of power generators. Comparably precise data on the price sensitivity is not available, so that we analyze its impact in a range of simulations. Contrary to apparently straightforward expectations, we find that a higher price sensitivity increases average prices under reasonable assumptions. The reason is that, when price sensitivity is high, the most efficient energy providers can attract sufficiently many consumers for operating at full capacity, even when price differences to their less efficient competitors are small. Hence, incentives to reduce prices are higher when the price sensitivity is low. We conclude that the widespread view that high electricity prices can (partially) be attributed to a low willingness of consumers to change their providers is flawed.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulun, Tobias & Feess, Eberhard & Madlener, Reinhard, 2010. "Why Higher Price Sensitivity of Consumers May Increase Average Prices: An Analysis of the European Electricity Market," FCN Working Papers 16/2010, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:fcnwpa:2010_016
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Halvorsen, Bente & Larsen, Bodil M., 2001. "The flexibility of household electricity demand over time," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Nakajima, Tadahiro & Hamori, Shigeyuki, 2010. "Change in consumer sensitivity to electricity prices in response to retail deregulation: A panel empirical analysis of the residential demand for electricity in the United States," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 2470-2476, May.
    3. Anette Boom, 2003. "Investments in Electricity Generating Capacity under Different Market Structures and with Endogenously Fixed Demand," CIG Working Papers SP II 2003-01, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Research Unit: Competition and Innovation (CIG).
    4. Lijesen, Mark G., 2007. "The real-time price elasticity of electricity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 249-258, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dergiades, Theologos & Madlener, Reinhard & Christofidou, Georgia, 2012. "The Nexus between Natural Gas Spot and Futures Prices at NYMEX: Do Weather Shocks and Non-Linear Causality in Low Frequencies Matter?," FCN Working Papers 17/2012, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Sep 2013.
    2. Bernstein, Ronald & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Responsiveness of Residential Electricity Demand in OECD Countries: A Panel Cointegation and Causality Analysis," FCN Working Papers 8/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    3. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Preferences for Adopting Residential Heating Systems: A Discrete Choice Analysis for Germany," FCN Working Papers 9/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    4. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Challenges in the Evaluation of Ultra-Long-Lived Projects: Risk Premia for Projects with Eternal Returns or Costs," FCN Working Papers 13/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    5. Harmsen - van Hout, Marjolein & Ghosh, Gaurav & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "The Impact of Green Framing on Consumers’ Valuations of Energy-Saving Measures," FCN Working Papers 7/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    6. Rohlfs, Wilko & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Multi-Commodity Real Options Analysis of Power Plant Investments: Discounting Endogenous Risk Structures," FCN Working Papers 22/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    7. Harmsen - van Hout, Marjolein & Ghosh, Gaurav & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "An Evaluation of Attribute Anchoring Bias in a Choice Experimental Setting," FCN Working Papers 6/2013, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    8. Kraas, Birk & Schroedter-Homscheidt, Marion & PulvermĂĽller, Benedikt & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Economic Assessment of a Concentrating Solar Power Forecasting System for Participation in the Spanish Electricity Market," FCN Working Papers 12/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity Market; Price Sensitivity; Heterogenous Oligopoly; Price Competition; Capacity Constraints;

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