Dynamic Pricing is Everywhere … Even Npr

Chicago’s National Public Radio affiliate, WBEZ, started their fall/winter pledge drive earlier this week. As usual, the station offers a range of “thank you” gifts, with different gifts for different donation amounts. Going beyond the ubiquitous tote bag and coffee mug, this year WBEZ offers a stylish black and red (good color combo when you … More Dynamic Pricing is Everywhere … Even Npr

The Uk Smart Meter Transition: Industry Structure, Market Power, and Interoperability

The UK government started an energy digital smart meter rollout in 2008, an “… £11bn scheme to put 53m devices in 30m homes and small businesses by 2020” to yield an estimated gross benefit of £16.7bn. Calling the rollout a disaster would be generous — it’s behind schedule, about £1bn over budget, and full of technical … More The Uk Smart Meter Transition: Industry Structure, Market Power, and Interoperability

Surge Pricing Like a Boss

When Bruce Springsteen decided to do a run of shows at a Broadway theater with fewer than a thousand seats, he appeared to reject the laws of economics — or at least what would seem to be in his financial best interest. He limited ticket prices to between $75 and $850 and has been allocating … More Surge Pricing Like a Boss

Two Ev Entries in the “How Cool is This?” File

Economical energy storage has long been the Holy Grail of electricity. Since 1800, when Alessandro Volta invented the electric pile (a forerunner of the modern battery), hobbyists, scientists, and engineers have experimented with chemicals and materials to create economical storage at a smaller scale than a hydroelectric dam and with a more portable technology than, … More Two Ev Entries in the “How Cool is This?” File

Solar Eclipses and the Electric Grid: Markets and Automation

Yesterday’s solar eclipse across the US amplified a dominant issue in electricity policy discussions over the past couple of years — does increasing use of distributed energy resources like solar photovoltaics make the grid more resilient, or does it lead to imbalance and inadequacy? In California during the eclipse (Financial Times), solar generation dropped compared to … More Solar Eclipses and the Electric Grid: Markets and Automation

Dot’s Airline Price Gouging Investigation and a Political Economy-based Prediction

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it had launched an investigation into possible “unfair practices (e.g., price gouging) affecting air travel during the period of time that Amtrak service along the Northeast Corridor was delayed or suspended as a result of the May 12th derailment.” Five airlines received letters from the agency seeking … More Dot’s Airline Price Gouging Investigation and a Political Economy-based Prediction

Power Up: The Framework for a New ERA of UK Energy Distribution

The Adam Smith Institute has published a research report I wrote for them, Power Up: The framework for a new era of UK energy distribution. From the press release: The report … argues that new technologies such as smart grids and distributed energy production can revolutionise old models of energy distribution and pricing, in the … More Power Up: The Framework for a New ERA of UK Energy Distribution

The Political Economy of Uber’s Multi-dimensional Creative Destruction

Over the past week it’s been hard to keep up with the news about Uber. Uber’s creative destruction is rapid, and occurring on multiple dimensions in different places. And while the focus right now is on Uber’s disruption in the shared transportation market, I suspect that more disruption will arise in other markets too. Start … More The Political Economy of Uber’s Multi-dimensional Creative Destruction

Coase’s Influence on Economics, and Adam Smith’s Influence on Coase

Understanding the economy as a dynamic, complex system relies on the foundational work of several economists, including Adam Smith (of course) and Ronald Coase. As Coase observed in his 1991 Nobel Prize address, What I have done is to show the importance for the working of the economic system of what may be termed the … More Coase’s Influence on Economics, and Adam Smith’s Influence on Coase

Does Bad Regulatory Policy Sow the Seeds of Better Regulatory Policy?

Severin Borenstein asks whether growth of distributed energy is mostly an uneconomic response to regulatory dysfunction, and raises the question of whether uneconomic responses might lead to regulatory improvements. He doesn’t quite frame the issues quite like that, his post is somewhat exploratory in form, but I think this is the question he is aiming at. … More Does Bad Regulatory Policy Sow the Seeds of Better Regulatory Policy?