I am currently in the Harrisburg Airport, awaiting my flight home after having spent the past day at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Dickinson College has an interesting history; Philadelphia physician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush, founded the college in 1783 as an educational institution to serve as a “bulwark of liberty” to provide a useful liberal arts education to the democratic citizenry of the new United States of America. The college is named after fellow Revolutionary Pennsylvanian John Dickinson, who was involved in the establishment of the college.
Dickinson has a really neat program called the Clarke Forum, which involves students in a year-long thematic, interdisciplinary examination of a particular issue. This year’s theme is energy. Last night I gave a talk titled The Interaction of Regulation, Markets, and Technology: Consumer Empowerment in the Electric Power Industry (warning: the pdf is 2MB, so download at your own risk). I had a great time, and the faculty and students asked great questions.
The punch line: the existing business models and regulatory institutions in the electric power industry must adapt to technological change, and by incorporating dynamic pricing and digital end-use technology innovations, will empower consumers to control and manage their own energy use while also better enabling us to address the environmental challenges that may arise from our use of electricity.