Under the energypulse.net article Just How Smart IS Your Smart Meter? Why Achieving the Intelligrid Should be Your Ultimate Goal, the explanation of the conclusions given on 8.5.07 is based on my presentation given at Carnegie Mellon University in March 2007. Readers can download only one copy of the CMU presentation “A Generative Dialogue to Reach the End-State of the Electricity Industry,” for personal use, from the left column of this blog.
The idea of retail competition in electricity (referred in slide 8 of the presentation) can be found in the July 1996 issue of the IEEE Spectrum, which has on the cover “Power Brokers: utilities brace for new competition.” In the article “Unlocking the GRID, starting on page 20,” Sally Hunt and Graham Shuttleworth of NERA, explained in “a guide to the perplexed,” that retail competition answers yes to the following 3 questions: 1) Are there competing generators, 2) Do retailers have a choice, and 3) Do final consumers have a choice.
Explaining the model of “… retail competition or direct access,” the authors write: “In this case, all customers choose their suppliers. There is open access to transmission and distribution wires. The distribution is separate from the retail activity, and the latter is competitive. This, in broad outline, is the proposed California model…” Please refer to slides 29 and 30 to learn that the California model was changed from what it was supposed to be based on welfare economics and complete markets, to one to slow the progress as can be seen on slide 32. The shift from incomplete market deregulation with price controls to re-regulation without price controls under prudential regulation (EWPC) was born on slide 33.
The authors added, “Retail competition makes the most of competitive forces by, in principle, bringing all final consumers into the market. But it also greatly increases transaction costs by requiring more complex trade arrangements and metering. For small users, the costs may easily outweigh the benefits. Not only are metering costs comparatively higher for small customers, but the benefits of one stop shopping are lost – a problem that has also arisen in the telephone industry. Precise responsibility for poor service may be difficult to pinpoint when the local distribution company is not also the retailer.”
Missing from the explanation are the warnings (refer to slide 15) that Fred C. Schweppe et al had written in the book “Spot Pricing of Electricity,” which explain the failure of the California model:
1) “We believe the deregulation which considers only the supply side of the supply-side equation is dangerous and could have very negative results.”
2) “A second mayor difference between this chapter (the only chapter on deregulation in the whole book) and most of the deregulation literature lies in our concern that the economics and physical security of power systems not be destroyed or compromised.”
The first warning is solved by active development of the resources of the demand side (refer to slide 12). The second - one stop shopping and poor service – is solved by following Schweppe’s advice to meet the criteria: “Consider the engineering requirements for controlling, operating and planning an electric power system.” I discovered that there is a need for an imperative ultraquality transportation (integrated T&D), to solve the poor service problem for retailers (see slides 9 and 10).
Second Generation Retailers (2GRs) go further than regulated retailers with one stop shopping service as they also facilitate generators funding by becoming marketers, brokers and aggregators participating in the future markets by “making electricity purchase a contract rather than a regulated service,” as explained by John Flory in 1996 (refer to slide 32).
© 2007. All rights reserved by José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio, PhD.