Electricity pricing

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Electricity pricing (sometimes referred to as electricity tariff or the price of electricity) varies widely from country to country and may vary significantly from locality to locality within a particular country. Many factors go into determining an electricity tariff, such as the price of power generation, government subsidies, local weather patterns, transmission and distribution infrastructure, and industry regulation. “Electricity prices generally reflect the cost to build, finance, maintain, and operate power plants and the electricity grid.”[1] Some utilities are for-profit, and their prices will also include a financial return for shareholders and owners. Electricity tariffs vary by type of customer, typically by residential, commercial, and industrial connections. Electricity price forecasting is the method by which a generator, utility company, or large industrial consumer can predict the wholesale prices of electricity with reasonable accuracy. The cost to supply electricity varies minute by minute.[1]

Rate structure[edit]

In standard regulated monopoly markets, electricity rates typically vary for residential, commercial and industrial customers. The rates are determined through a regulatory process that is overseen by a public utility commission.

Prices for any single class of electricity customer can vary by time-of-day called TOU or time of use or by the capacity or nature of the supply circuit (e.g., 5 kW, 12 kW, 18 kW, 24 kW are typical in some of the large developed countries); for industrial customers, single-phase vs. 3-phase, etc. Prices are usually highest for commercial and residential consumers because of the additional costs associated with stepping down their distribution voltage. The price of power for industrial customers is relatively the same as the wholesale price of electricity, because they consume more power at higher voltages. Supplying electricity at transmission-level high voltages is more efficient, and therefore less expensive.

The two most common distinctions between customer classes are load size and usage profile. In many cases, time-of-use (TOU) and load factor are more significant factors than load size. Contribution to peak-load is an extremely important factor in determining customer rate class. Consumer loads may be characterized as peak, off-peak, baseload, and seasonal. Utilities rate each load differently, because each has different implications for a power system.

The inclusion of renewable energy distributed generation and AMI in the modern electricity grid has introduced many alternative rate structures. Simple (or fixed) rate, tiered (or step) rate, TOU, demand rates, tiered within TOU, seasonal, and weekend/holiday rates are among the few residential rate structures offered by modern utilities. The simple rate charges a specific dollar per kilowatt ($/kWh) consumed. The tiered rate is one of the more common residential rate programs, and it charges a higher rate as customer usage increases. TOU and demand rates are structured to help maintain/control a utility’s peak demand. The concept at its core is to discourage customers from contributing to peak-load times by charging them more money to use power at that time.

A feed-in tariff (FIT) is an energy-supply policy that supports the development of renewable power generation. FITs give financial benefits to renewable power producers. In the United States, FIT policies guarantee that eligible renewable generators will have their electricity purchased by their utility.[2] The FIT contract contains a guaranteed period of time (usually 15–20 years) that payments in dollars per kilowatt hour ($/kWh) will be made for the full output of the system.

Net metering is another billing mechanism that supports the development of renewable power generation, specifically, solar power. The mechanism credits solar energy system owners for the electricity their system adds to the grid. Residential customers with rooftop PV system will typically generate more electricity than their home consumes during daylight hours, so net metering is particularly advantageous. During this time where generation is greater than consumption, the home’s electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit on the homeowner’s electricity bill.[3]

The cost also differs by the power source. The net present value of the unit-cost of electricity over the lifetime of a generating asset is known as the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). LCOE is the best value to compare different methods of generation on a consistent basis.

In the U.S. the estimated LCOE for different sources are:[4]

Generation Source LCOE (2015$/kWh)
Gas Combined Cycle 0.042-0.078
Coal 0.06-0.143
Nuclear 0.112-0.183
Solar PV, Rooftop Residential 0.187-0.319
Solar PV, Utility 0.046-0.053
Wind 0.03-0.06

Price comparison[edit]

The table below shows simple comparison of electricity tariffs in industrialised countries and territories around the world, expressed in US dollars. The comparison does not take into account factors including fluctuating international exchange rates, a country's purchasing power, government electricity subsidies or retail discounts that are often available in deregulated electricity markets.[5]

For example, in 2012, Hawaii residents had the highest average residential electricity rate in the United States (37.34¢/kWh), while Louisiana residents had the lowest average residential electricity costs (8.37¢/kWh). Even in the contiguous United States the gap is significant, with New York residents having the highest average residential electricity rates in the lower 48 U.S. states (17.62¢/kWh).[6]

Global comparison[edit]

Country/territory US cents/kWh US cents/megajoule Date Source
American Samoa 25.4 to 30 May 2017 [7]
Argentina 3.1[a] (subsidized) 0.86 (Buenos Aires) 2006 [5]
Argentina (Concordia) 19.13[a] 5.31 Jun 14, 2013
Australia varies by state and by time of day (peak/shoulder/off peak) from 15-54 cents AUD per kWh; service availability charge of $0.95 AUD a day 6.11 to 11.06 Feb 6, 2018 [8][9][10]
Bahrain 0.79 to 4.23 (0.79 for first 3000 kWh; 2.38 for 3001-5000 kWh and 4.23 for every additional kWh. Exchange rate used from BHD to USD is 0.378) Aug 19, 2015 [11]
Bangladesh 2.95 to 9.24 Mar 13, 2014 [12]
Belarus 13.8 to 69.8 Jun 21, 2016 [13]
Belgium 29.08 8.08 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Bhutan Jun 18, 2017 [15]
Brunei 0.72 to 8.64 (0.72 for first 600 kWh; 5.76 for 601-2000 kWh; 7.20 for 2001-4000 kWh and 8.64 for every additional kWh. Exchange rate used from BRR to USD is 0.72) Jun 18, 2017 [16]
Bulgaria 13.38 day (between 7:00-23:00 DST); 9.13 night 2.54 to 3.72 Oct 29, 2014 [17][18][19]
Brazil 12.00 to 25.00 varying by state and Electricity Service Provider Jul 7, 2016 [20]
Cambodia 15.63 to 21.00 in Phnom Penh 4.34 to 5.83 Feb 28, 2014 [21]
Canada, Ontario 14.6 2017-2018 [22]
Canada, Ontario, Toronto 6.52 to 11.69 depending on time of day plus transmission, delivery, and other charges of about 3.75 per kWh 1.81 to 3.25 Feb 9, 2014 [23]
Canada, Quebec 4.60 for the first 33 kWh/day then 7.05 + 32.14/day for subscription fee (all converted to USD on July 17, 2017) 2017 [24]
China 4 to 4.5 2014 [25]
Chile 23.11 Jan 1, 2011 [26][27]
Colombia (Bogota) 18.05 Jun 1, 2013 [28]
Cook Islands 34.6 to 50.2 [29]
Croatia 17.55 Jul 1, 2008 [30]
Curaçao 26.58 to 35.08 Aug 1, 2017 [31]
Denmark 33 May 1, 2015 [14]
United Arab Emirates- Dubai 6.26 to 10.35 (plus 1.63 fuel surcharge) [32]
United Arab Emirates- Abu Dhabi 0 to 8.23 (i.e. AED 0 to AED 0.305) 2017 [33]
Egypt Priced into sections at a kWh/month, subsidized[a]

0.42 @ 0-50 kWh/M
0.82 @ 51-100 kWh/M
0.9 @ 0-200 kWh/M
1.35 @ 201-350 kWh/M
1.91 @ 351-650 kWh/M
3.37 @ 651-1000 kWh/M
4.16 @ 1000+ kWh/M

Jul 17, 2014 [34][35]
Ethiopia 6.7 to 7.7[a] Dec 31, 2012 [36]
Fiji 12 to 14.2 [29]
Finland 13.73 Jul 1, 2018 [14]
France 19.39 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Georgia 8.00 Jul 24, 2015 [37]
Gibraltar 14.4 Jan 4, 2018 [38]
Germany 35.00 Mar 1, 2017 [39]
Romania 18.40 Jun 26, 2013 [40]
Guyana 26.80 Apr 1, 2012 [41]
Switzerland 25.00 Jan 6, 2014 [42]
Hungary 23.44 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Hong Kong 12.04 to 24.05 Jan 1, 2013 [43][44]
India 0.1 to 18 (Average 7) March 1, 2014 [45]
Indonesia
R-1/450 VA Subsidized 3.07
R-1/900 VA Subsidized 4.1
R-1/900 VA-RTM (Capable Household) Non-subsidized 9.4
R-1/1300 VA Non-subsidized 10.27
R-1/2200 VA Non-subsidized 10.27
R-2/3500 VA, 4400 VA, 5500 VA Non-subsidized 10.27
R-3/6600 VA and above Non-subsidized 10.27
Nov 30, 2017 [46]
Iceland 5.54 Nov 8, 2015 [47]
Iran 2 to 19 Jul 1, 2011
Iraq Residential pricing per kWh used, subsidized[a]

2.5 @ 0-500 kWh/M
4.17 @ 501-1000 kWh/M
7.5 @ 1001-1500 kWh/M
11.67 @ 1501-2000 kWh/M
14.17 @ 2001-3000 kWh/M
16.67 @ 3001-4000 kWh/M
18.75 @ > 4001 kWh/M

Apr 8, 2015 [48]
Ireland 23.06 November 1, 2016 [49]
Israel 15.35[a] May 8, 2017 [50]
Italy 28.39 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Jamaica 44.7 Dec 4, 2013 [51]
Japan 20 to 24 Dec 31, 2009 [52][53]
Jordan 5[a] to 33 Jan 30, 2012 [54]
Kazakhstan 4.8 to 8.2 Dec 13, 2016
Kiribati 32.7 [55]
South Korea Priced into a sliding scale at a kWh/month, residential service (low-voltage)[a]

8.1 @ 0-200 kWh/M
16.4 @ 201-400 kWh/M
24.5 @ 401- kWh/M

62.0 @ 1001- kWh/M (only for Jul-Aug, Dec-Feb)

Demand charge(0.76-6.38USD) 10% VAT, 3.7% green energy fund are not included

Dec 1, 2016 [56]
Kuwait 0.3 to 3 Jan 1, 2016 [57]
Laos 11.95 for >150kWh, 4.86 for 26-150 kWh, 4.08 for 0-25 kWh Feb 28, 2014 [58][59]
Latvia 18.23 calculated for 100kWh including transport, green energy tax and VAT Jun 14, 2017 [60]
Lithuania 12 July 1, 2016 [61]
Macedonia 7 to 10

industrial-14

Aug 1, 2013 [62]
Malaysia Domestic consumer pricing per kWh used, subsidized

4.95 @ 1 to 200 kWh
7.59 @ 201 to 300 kWh
11.73 @ 301 to 600 kWh
12.41 @ 601 to 900 kWh
12.98 @ 901 kWh onwards
(exchange rate of 4.4 MYR to 1 USD on Nov 24, 2016)

Jan 1, 2014 [63]
Marshall Islands 32.6 to 41.6 [64]
Mexico 19.28[b] Aug 22, 2012 [65][66]
Moldova 11.11 Apr 1, 2011 [67]
Mozambique 1.1 Oct, 2018
Myanmar 3.6 Feb 28, 2014
Nepal 7.2 to 11.2 Jul 16, 2012 [68]
Netherlands 28.89 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
New Caledonia 26.2 to 62.7 [29]
New Zealand 19.67 Nov 16, 2018
Nicaragua Priced into a sliding scale at a kWh/month,[a] residential T-0

10 @ 0-25 kWh/M
21 @ 26-50 kWh/M
22 @ 51-100 kWh/M
29 @ 101-150 kWh/M
27 @ 151-500 kWh/M
43 @ 501-1000 kWh/M
48 @ 1000+ kWh/M

Sep 1, 2014 [69]
Niue 44.3 [55]
Nigeria 2.58 to 16.55 Jul 2, 2013 [70]
Norway 15.9 Jul 25, 2013
Pakistan General Supply Tariff - Residential

2 < 50 kWh/M
5.79 @ 1-100 kWh/M
8.11 @ 101-200 kWh/M
10.21 @ 201-300 kWh/M
16 @ 301-700 kWh/M
18 >700 kWh/M

14 Jul 2015 [71]
Palau 22.83 [55]
Papua New Guinea 19.6 to 38.8 [29]
Paraguay General Supply Tariff - Residential

5.66 @ 0 - 50 kWh/M
6.36 @ 51 - 150 kWh/M
6.64 @ 151 - 300 kWh/M
7.34 @ 301 - 500 kWh/M
7.64 @ 501 - 1000 kWh/M
7.92 >1000 kWh/M
General Supply Tariff - Industrial
7.36 kWh/M
(exchange rate: 1 USD = 5,500 PYG)

2017 [72]
Peru 17.70 January 19, 2018 [73]
Philippines 18.22

Palawan 25.2

October 7, 2015 [74]
Portugal 25.25 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Russia 2.4 to 14 Nov 1, 2011 [14]
Rwanda 22 to 23.6
2016 [75]
Saudi Arabia for Residential (1-6000 Kwh = 4.8 cents, more 6000 kwh = 8 cents)

for Commercial (1-6000 Kwh = 5.3 cents, more 6000 kwh = 8 cents)
for Agricultural & Charities(1-6000 Kwh = 4.3 cents, more 6000 kwh = 5.3 cents)
for Governmental (kwh = 8.5 cents)
for Industrial (kwh = 4.8 cents)
for Private educational, private medical(kwh = 4.8 cents)

Jan 15, 2018 [76]
Serbia 3.93 to 13.48, average ~6,1[d] Feb 28, 2013 [77]
Singapore 14.97 Jun 16, 2017 [78]
Spain About €0,23 per KWh

(21% VAT + another 6% electricity tax are included in this price)

December 2017 [79]
Sri Lanka Priced into sections at a kWh/month, subsidized[a]

1.62 @ 0-30 kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 0.20
3.16 @ 31-60 kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 0.39
5.11 @ 0-60 kWh/M + fixed charge/M N/A
6.51 @ 61-90 kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 0.59
18.09 @ 91-120 kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 3.14
20.86 @ 121-181 kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 3.14
29.33 @ > 180+ kWh/M + fixed charge/M USD 3.53
(exchange rate of 153.03 LKR to 1 USD on Aug 23, 2017)

Aug 23, 2017 [80][81]
Solomon Islands 88 to 99 [82]
South Africa 15 Sep 29, 2015 [83][84]
Surinam 3.90 to 4.84 Nov 20, 2013 [85]
Sweden 8.33 Feb 3, 2015 [14]
Tahiti 25 to 33.1 [29]
Taiwan Priced into a sliding scale at a kWh/month, residential service (low-voltage)[a]

5.4 @ 0-120 kWh/M
7.9 @ 121-330 kWh/M (only for Jun - Sep)
11.7 @ 331-500 kWh/M (only for Jun - Sep)

15.3 @ 501-700 kWh/M (only for Jun - Sep)

18.1 @ 701-1000 kWh/M (only for Jun - Sep)

20.4 @ 1000- kWh/M (only for Jun - Sep)


7.0 @ 121-330 kWh/M (only for Oct - May)
9.6 @ 331-500 kWh/M (only for Oct - May)

12.6 @ 501-700 kWh/M (only for Oct - May)

14.8 @ 701-1000 kWh/M (only for Oct - May)

16.1 @ 1000- kWh/M (only for Oct - May)

(exchange rate of 30 TWD to 1 USD)

Aug 27, 2017 [86]
Thailand Priced into a sliding scale at a kWh/month, residential service (low-voltage)[a]

7.1 First 15 kWh (1st – 15th )
9 Next 10 kWh (16th – 25th)
9.81 Next 10 kWh (26th – 35th)
10.98 Next 65 kWh (36th – 100th)
11.26 Next 50 kWh (101st – 150th)
12.79 Next 250 kWh (151st – 400th)
13.4 Over 400 kWh (up from 401st)

  • calculation at exchange rate 33 Baht to 1 dollar
January 5, 2018 [87]
Tonga 47 Jun 1, 2011 [29]
Trinidad and Tobago 4 (residential)

20 (industry)

July 8, 2015 [88]
Turkey 11.20 residential (Low voltage)

11.29 business (Low voltage)

8.78 industry (Medium voltage)

Jul 1, 2016 [89]
Turks and Caicos Islands 40.12 April 27, 2018 [90]
Tuvalu 36.55 [55]
Uganda 4.44 (first 15 kWh in a month for domestic consumers)

19.26 (above 15 kWh in a month for domestic consumers)

Aug 9, 2016 [91]
Ukraine 2.6 to 10.8 2017 [92][93]
United Kingdom 22 May 1, 2015 [14][94]
United States 8 to 17 ; 37[c] 43[c] Sep 1, 2012 [95][96]
United States Virgin Islands 48.9 to 51.9 Oct 1, 2014 [97]
Uruguay 17.07 to 26.48 Feb 11, 2014 [98]
Uzbekistan 4.95 2011 [99]
Vanuatu 60 [29]
Venezuela 0.016 at commonly used unofficial exchange rate (3684 VEF/USD) or 0.089 cents at official exchange rate (678 VEF/USD) 2016-12-01 [100]
Vietnam 6.20 to 10.01 2011 [101]
Western Samoa 30.5 to 34.7 [29]
Zambia Residential tariff: first 200kWh in a month, it is about 2 cents (exchange rate varies)

Then above 200kWh usage in a month, rate is 9 cents.

16 August 2017 [102]

a Denotes countries with government subsidized electricity tariffs.[103][104][105]

b Mexico subsidizes electricity according to consumption limits. More than 500kWh consumed bimonthly receive no subsidies. Only 1% of Mexico's population pays this tariff.[106]

c Hawaii.

d Prices don't include VAT (20%)

e San Diego, California high-tier

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) also publishes an incomplete list[107] of international energy prices, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) provides a thorough, quarterly review.[108]

Eurostat[edit]

Electricity price statistics, Europe 2017[109]

The following table shows electricity prices both for household and non-household consumers within the European Union (EU) and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Albania, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine.[110]

H2 2017 Electricity prices (Euro per kWh)[110]
Country Households Non-Household
 Albania 0.086 -
 Austria 0.198 0.100
 Belgium 0.288 0.109
 Bulgaria 0.098 0.074
 Croatia 0.124 0.092
 Cyprus 0.183 0.139
 Czech Republic 0.149 0.071
 Denmark 0.301 0.098
 Estonia 0.132 0.085
 Finland 0.160 0.068
 Republic of Macedonia 0.081 0.056
 France 0.176 0.092
 Germany 0.305 0.151
 Greece 0.162 0.119
 Hungary 0.113 0.078
 Iceland 0.152 -
 Ireland 0.236 0.124
 Italy 0.208 0.145
 Kosovo 0.065 0.080
 Latvia 0.158 0.116
 Lithuania 0.111 0.083
 Luxembourg 0.162 0.078
 Malta 0.136 0.138
 Moldova 0.101 0.085
 Montenegro 0.100 0.077
 Netherlands 0.156 0.076
 Norway 0.161 0.070
 Poland 0.145 0.086
 Portugal 0.223 0.115
 Romania 0.129 0.079
 Serbia 0.070 0.075
 Slovakia 0.144 0.111
 Slovenia 0.161 0.078
 Spain 0.218 0.103
 Sweden 0.199 0.065
 Turkey 0.096 0.060
 Ukraine 0.038 -
 United Kingdom 0.186 0.125
H1 2018 Electricity prices (Euro per kWh)[111]
Country Households Non-Household
 Austria 0.197 0.100
 Belgium 0.286 0.108
 Bulgaria 0.098 0.074
 Croatia 0.131 0.098
 Cyprus 0.179 0.136
 Czech Republic 0.153 0.073
 Denmark 0.307 0.100
 Estonia 0.138 0.089
 Finland 0.163 0.069
 France 0.179 0.094
 Germany 0.307 0.153
 Greece 0.156 0.117
 Hungary 0.113 0.078
 Ireland 0.250 0.132
 Italy 0.215 0.150
 Latvia 0.158 0.116
 Lithuania 0.110 0.082
 Luxembourg 0.168 0.083
 Malta 0.136 0.138
 Netherlands 0.176 0.086
 Poland 0.145 0.086
 Portugal 0.228 0.117
 Romania 0.141 0.086
 Slovakia 0.148 0.114
 Slovenia 0.162 0.079
 Spain 0.223 0.106
 Sweden 0.213 0.069
 United Kingdom 0.190 0.127

Electricity price forecasting[edit]

Electricity price forecasting is the process of using mathematical models to predict what electricity prices will be in the future.

Forecasting methodology[edit]

The simplest model for day ahead forecasting is to ask each generation source to bid on blocks of generation and choose the cheapest bids. If not enough bids are submitted, the price is increased. If too many bids are submitted the price can reach zero or become negative. The offer price includes the generation cost as well as the transmission cost, along with any profit. Power can be sold or purchased from adjoining power pools.[112][113][114]

The concept of independent system operators (ISOs) fosters competition for generation among wholesale market participants by unbundling operation of transmission and generation. ISOs use bid-based markets to determine economic dispatch.[115]

Wind and solar power are non-dispatchable. Such power is normally sold before any other bids, at a pre-determined rate for each supplier. Any excess is sold to another grid operator, or stored, using pumped-storage hydroelectricity, or in the worst case, curtailed.[116] Curtailment could potentially significantly impact solar power’s economic and environmental benefits at greater PV penetration levels.[117] Allocation is done by bidding.[118]

The effect of the recent introduction of smart grids and integrating distributed renewable generation has been increased uncertainty of future supply, demand and prices.[119] This uncertainty has driven much research into the topic of forecasting.

Driving factors[edit]

Electricity cannot be stored as easily as gas, it is produced at the exact moment of demand. All of the factors of supply and demand will therefore have an immediate impact on the price of electricity on the spot market. In addition to production costs, electricity prices are set by supply and demand.[120] However, some fundamental drivers are the most likely to be considered.

Short-term prices are impacted the most by weather. Demand due to heating in the winter and cooling in the summer are the main drivers for seasonal price spikes.[121] In 2017, the United States is scheduled to add 13 GW of natural-gas fired generation to its capacity. Additional natural-gas fired capacity is driving down the price of electricity, and increasing demand.

A country’s natural resource endowment, as well as their regulations in place greatly influence tariffs from the supply side. The supply side of the electricity supply is most influenced by fuel prices, and CO2 allowance prices. The EU carbon prices have doubled since 2017, making it a significant driving factor of price.[122]

Weather[edit]

Studies show that generally demand for electricity is driven largely by temperature. Heating demand in the winter and cooling demand (air conditioners) in the summer are what primarily drive the seasonal peaks in most regions. Heating degree days and cooling degree days help measure energy consumption by referencing the outdoor temperature above and below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, a commonly accepted baseline.[123]

In terms of renewable sources like solar and wind, weather impacts supply. California’s duck curve[cite] shows the difference between electricity demand and the amount of solar energy available throughout the day. On a sunny day, solar power floods the electricity generation market and then drops during sunless evening, when electricity demand peaks.[117]

Hydropower availability[edit]

Snowpack, streamflows, seasonality, salmon, etc. all affect the amount of water that can flow through a dam at any given time. Forecasting these variables predicts the available potential energy for a dam for a given period.[124] Some regions such as the Egypt, China and the Pacific Northwest get significant generation from hydroelectric dams. In 2015, SAIDI and SAIFI more than doubled from the previous year in Zambia due to low water reserves in their hydroelectric dams caused by insufficient rainfall.[125]

Power plant and transmission outages[edit]

Whether planned or unplanned, outages affect the total amount of power that is available to the grid. Outages undermine electricity supply, which in turn effects price.[125]

Economic health[edit]

During times of economic hardship, many factories cut back production due to a reduction of consumer demand and therefore reduce production-related electrical demand.[126]

Global Markets

The UK has been a net importer of energy for over a decade, and as their generation capacity and reserves decrease the level of importing is reaching an all-time high.[127] Their fuel price's dependence on international markets has a huge effect on the cost of electricity, especially if the exchange rate falls. Being energy dependent makes their electricity prices vulnerable to world events, as well.

Government Regulation

Governments may choose to make electricity tariffs affordable for their population through subsidies to producers and consumers. Most countries characterized as having low energy access have electric power utilities that do not recover any of their capital and operating costs, due to high subsidy levels.[128]

In the United States, federal interventions and subsidies for energy can be classified as tax expenditure, direct expenditures, research and development (R&D), and DOE loan guarantees. Most federal subsidies in 2016 were to support developing renewable energy supplies, and energy efficiency measures.[129]

Power quality[edit]

Excessive Total Harmonic Distortions (THD) and not unity Power Factor (PF) is costly at every level of the electricity market. Cost of PF and THD impact is difficult to estimate, but both can potentially cause heat, vibrations, malfunctioning and even meltdowns. Power factor is the ratio of real to apparent power in a power system. Drawing more current results in a lower power factor. Larger currents require costlier infrastructure to minimize power loss, so consumers with low power factors get charged a higher electricity rate by their utility.[130] True power factor is made of displacement power factor and THD. Power quality is typically monitored at the transmission level. A spectrum of compensation devices[131] mitigate bad outcomes, but improvements can be achieved only with real-time correction devices (old style switching type,[132] modern low-speed DSP driven[133] and near real-time[134]). Most modern devices reduce problems, while maintaining return on investment and significant reduction of ground currents. Power quality problems can cause erroneous responses from many kinds of analog and digital equipment, where the response could be unpredictable.

Phase balancing[edit]

Most common distribution network and generation is done with 3 phase structures, with special attention paid to the phase balancing and resulting reduction of ground current. It is true for industrial or commercial networks where most power is used in 3 phase machines, but light commercial and residential users do not have real-time phase balancing capabilities. Often this issue leads to unexpected equipment behavior or malfunctions and in extreme cases fires. For example, sensitive professional analogue or digital recording equipment must be connected to well-balanced and grounded power networks. To determine and mitigate the cost of the unbalanced electricity network, electric companies in most cases charge by demand or as a separate category for heavy unbalanced loads. A few simple techniques are available for balancing that require fast computing and real-time modeling.[135]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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