Technology and Pricing to Engage and Empower Electricity Customers

Lynne Kiesling

Earlier this week I gave a guest lecture in a class in the Center for Energy, Marine Transportation and Public Policy at Columbia University. The topic shouldn’t surprise you: using technology and pricing to engage and empower electricity consumers (the link is to my presentation notes). It was a blast. We talked about the underlying economic theory supporting the value of engaging the underlying price elasticity of demand of retail customers, enabling those preferences to flow through to wholesale markets to yield better static efficiency results in wholesale markets (lower prices and lower variance in prices) and better dynamic efficiency results through clearer generation and transmission investment signals. We also talked about existing retail demand response programs that have generated valuable data about the fact that even small residential customers do respond to price signals, especially when they have digital enabling technology (like thermostats, digital meters, and grid-friendly appliances that can respond to price signals).