The regulation vs. deregulation discussion was about the wrong question. An undiscussed issue during the debate, price control is the key to a properly framed debate. As utilities keep wining rate cases to the regulators, customers are now facing a very large risk of increasing rates as unprepared regulators are part of a flawed system that push them to make incredible bets on Intelligent Utility Enterprise and Smart Grid investments.
An Overdue Debate: Customers’ Price Controls
By José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio, Ph.D.
Systemic Consultant: Electricity
First posted in the GMH Blog, on May 5th, 2008.
Copyright © 2008 José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, without written permission from José Antonio Vanderhorst-Silverio. This article is an unedited, an uncorrected, draft material of The EWPC Textbook. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org to contact the author for any kind of engagement.
As old regulation is just obsolete and deregulation was flawed, the debate between regulation and deregulation was the wrong question. The right question is Can the power industry eliminate its price controls to the end customer?
We need to make a fundamental shift in perspective to increase efficiency of the power industry. The shift is that integrating demand to power system planning, operation and control in the next 15 years. In fact, that is the breakthrough.
As utilities are in a hurry to keep wining rate cases to the regulators to produce the shift, customers are now facing a very large risk of increasing rates as unprepared regulators are part of a flawed system that push them to make incredible bets on Intelligent Utility Enterprise and Smart Grid investments. Competition should be organized for the development of market business model for global retail market segments.
I have selected 7 articles on Electricity Without Price Controls (EWPC) for the customers, as recommended reading to initiate the overdue debate on price controls. Below, each of the EWPC article (ordered chronologically) is followed by its summary:
1. Demand Integration is NOT the Province of Politics (12/06/07)
Demand integration and system reliability are not the provinces of politics, but of engineering systems and competition. FERC’s demand response staff assessment begs the question of a properly restructured electricity market. The highly complex paradigm inherent on its market structure will become even more complex if FERC’s correct instructions are implemented. A paradigm shift to the EWPC market structure and design is expected to avoid getting the developed countries’ power industry into that of third world service.
2. Shrinking the Regulator’s Jobs (02/20/08)
There is a need for a shared vision to restructure the power industry, shrinking regulators jobs to price controls of the remaining transportation electric utilities and letting end-customers make their own investments and purchasing decisions of electricity. The shared vision needs to go to the public opinion so that high level political decisions are enabled to restructure the electricity industry and shrinking regulators jobs.
3. Utilities and Regulators’ Value Destruction (04/09/08)
Excessive marketing costs are identified by Marty Agius, under today’s regulations, which make utilities and regulators unable to add customer value as will be done under EWPC. Added to his arguments is the large value creation waiting to happen with the emergence of business model innovations, to be develop by retail marketers (2GRs) to integrate demand to power system planning, operation and control, since market research doesn’t work yet.
4. Leadership Answers What to do First (04/16/08)
The answer to the question of what to do first is for the global power industry to get out of the wrong jungle to produce a EWPC based EPAct as soon as possible. That is the kind of leadership needed to face the inevitable fundamental changes required to significantly reduce today’s legislative and regulatory uncertainty.
5. Breakthrough Suggestions for Today's Utilities Environments (04/23/08)
Business model competition for retail services is the key to a breakthrough in utilities services. Economies of scale and scope of electricity, gas and water will enhance their business models. The general public should be aware of the harm of extending utilities business model of winning rate cases to the regulator as we enter the Third Industrial Revolution.
6. EWPC Can’t Be a Market Winner (04/29/08)
2GRs want to compete to develop market business model innovations for global retail market segments. On a given market segment, the market winner of the market vs. market competition can only be enabled after the EWPC EPAct is enacted. The EWPC EPAct should forbid state regulators from letting utilities win rate cases that involve Intelligent Utility Enterprise and Smart Grid investments, because of the high risks of failure involved.
7. To Congressional Requesters of Utility Oversight (05/02/08)
Being unnecessarily flawed, and complex, today's EPAct causes its own crisis. Under those circumstances, FERC utility oversight will not be able to produce the expected results. What’s needed is the simpler EWPC system to protect customers from supply disruptions and unfair pricing. The political answer is a EWPC EPAct.