Author Archives: Severin Borenstein

Who’s Stranded Now?

Utility costs are like taxes.  Everyone knows they have to be paid, but most people have a reason that their own share should be smaller.  And, just as with taxes, there are limitless ways to divide up the revenue burden. … Continue reading

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Is Electricity Pricing Different from “Real Markets”? Should It Be?

“No company in a real market would ever price that way.”  If you’ve discussed electricity pricing much, you’ve surely heard this said by a person opposed to one retail tariff or another.  In almost every instance, however, the claim is … Continue reading

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Is Distributed Generation the Answer to Regulatory Dysfunction?

One delightful aspect of teaching an MBA course in energy and environmental markets is getting together with my former students as they pursue careers in the industries I study.  I learn so much about the latest trends and ideas in … Continue reading

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Driving Taxes for the 21st Century

Both Max and Lucas have recently written on this blog about the need to price gasoline appropriately. I agree with them…mostly.  I mean, how could I disagree with them? I’m the one driving the gray Prius with the license plate … Continue reading

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Is “Community Choice” Electric Supply a Solution or a Problem?

Big news! If you live in California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, or a few other states you may soon have the opportunity to ditch your local investor-owned utility and buy your electricity from a competing retailer.  And in a few … Continue reading

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Double Counting Virtue

If you’ve installed solar at your home and are now basking in the I’m-saving-the-planet warm glow, you may be in for a splash of ice water.  There’s a good chance someone else has purchased your halo and is wearing it … Continue reading

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Billing Tweaks Don’t Make Net Metering Good Policy

Just before Christmas, an administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission put a shiny package with a big bow under the tree for distributed solar PV companies, and gave the state’s regulated utilities a lump of coal. That … Continue reading

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If You Like Your Time-invariant Electricity Price, You Can Keep It

Shouldn’t a 2000-square-foot house in San Francisco cost the same as in Omaha?  If you answered yes, then time-varying electricity pricing won’t make much sense to you either.   And you are probably puzzled, or outraged, at how much more expensive … Continue reading

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Why are California’s Gasoline Prices So High?

“What?” you may be saying “Gas prices are lower than they have been in a long time.”   That’s true, even in California, but that just reflects the collapse of world oil prices.  And only partially.  You see, while oil prices … Continue reading

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The Decline of Sloppy Electricity Rate Making

Back in the “good old days” most customers had no choice about how to buy electricity and a regulator’s life was pretty easy.  The utility needed sufficient revenue to cover its costs, but the regulator approving rates was mostly just … Continue reading

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