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Winners and Losers in the Transition to a Competitive Electricity Industry: An Empirical Analysis

Robert G. Ethier and Timothy D. Mount

Year: 1997
Volume: Volume 18
Number: Distributed Resources: Toward a New Paradigm of the Electricity Business
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol18-NoSI-8
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Abstract:
The objective of this paper is to show how the treatment of strandable assets, constrained by industrial customers' access to distributed generation technology, affects the prices paid by different classes of customers and the corresponding level of electricity sales. Competitive electricity rates are likely to be shaped by the regulatory need to recover strandable costs. The choice of recovery method (i.e., the structure of rates charged to customers) and the size of recovered costs will affect both total sales of electricity and consumer welfare. The availability of new turbine technology will limit the design of effective rate structures by giving industrial customers a credible threat to self-generate. A dynamic model using a complete Generalized Logit demand system coupled with an electricity supply system is used to evaluate the effects of different rate structures. The results show that stranding some assets is the best way to improve the welfare of all classes of customer and simultaneously increase the need for new generating capacity.



The "Regulatory Compact" and Implicit Contracts: Should Stranded Costs be Recoverable?

James Boyd

Year: 1998
Volume: Volume19
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol19-No3-4
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Abstract:
Progress toward electricity market deregulation has brought controversy over whether or not utilities are entitled to compensation for "stranded costs", i.e., costs utilities will not be able to recover due to the advent of competition in their markets. This paper uses a legal and economic analysis of contracts to address the desirability of utility cost recovery. First, underlying principles of law are reviewed to determine whether or not there is a legal presumption of recovery. Then, the analysis considers whether or not an implicit "regulatory compact" between utilities and regulators follows from principles in the economic analysis of law, particularly theories of efficient breach and implicit contracts. The paper concludes that recovery should occur in only a proscribed set of circumstances and that, when called for, compensation should be partial, rather than full.





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