Last week the commissioners of the Texas Public Utility Commission once again complained about retail power suppliers who gamed the ranking system on the state’s retail electric power shopping website http://www.powertochoose.org. This post summarizes the problem and then offers a simple solution. From the Houston Chronicle: Texas’ utility commissioners complained Thursday about confusing or misleading… More Texas PUC continues look at “gaming the rankings” problem on state website. Here’s my solution.
PJM has issued a report that, no surprise, finds the regional power promotes efficiency in operation and offers the right incentives for market entry and exit. The report does a few things, but none perhaps as useful as reminding policymakers that transparent, well-functioning markets do not always deliver the outcomes they wish for. From the… More PJM report says the regional power market works, doesn’t always give regulators what they want
When I posted the suggestion that adding thermal imaging capability to the cameras on ordinary smart phones would boost energy efficiency, I did not know there was published research offering some support for claim. As it turns out…. Julie Goodhew, Sabine Pahl, Tim Auburn, and Steve Goodhew, “Making Heat Visible: Promoting Energy Conservation Behaviors Through Thermal Imaging” Environment &… More Promoting energy conservation through thermal imaging
From the Washington Post: “This mystery was solved: Scientists say chemicals from fracking wastewater can taint fresh water nearby.”* The article itself mentions one study done by the USGS looking upstream and downstream from a single wastewater storage site in near Lochgelly, WV. But a study by the U.S. Geological Survey appears to have answered… More The mystery of fracking revealed by intrepid Washington Post reporter
Today in my antitrust and regulation class we talked about natural monopoly theory and what drives the natural monopoly cost structure. A lot of times in practical conversation with regulators and industry we talk about economies of scale, the decrease in average cost of production as the quantity produced increases, as being the main factor… More Economies of scope are underappreciated
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?
When the cameras built in to everyday phones have smart thermal imaging capability, then – finally – the dreams of energy efficiency experts will come true. Consumers will have easy access to pictures showing hot spots and cold spots around windows and doors and on walls and ceilings. People will spend more to replace windows and… More Widespread access to thermal imagery will boost home energy efficiency