• Future-proof tariff design: Recovering sunk grid costs in a world where consumers are pushing back

      Schittekatte, Tim; Momber, Ilan; Meeus, Leonardo (2017)
      Traditional analysis of distribution grid user’s reaction to tariffs assumes a low price sensitivity and a lack of alternative technologies to grid connection. This is radically changing with two technology breakthroughs: (1) Photovoltaics (PV) enable domestic and commercial consumers to self-produce energy; (2) Batteries allow self-producers to set both their grid energy and capacity parameters. Contributing to the state of the art, the grid cost recovery problem is modelled as a non-cooperative game between consumers. In this game, the availability and costs of new technologies (such as PV and batteries) strategically interact with tariff structures. Four states of the world for user’s access to new technologies are distinguished and three tariff structures are evaluated. The assessed distribution network tariff structures are: energy volumetric charges with net-metering, energy volumetric charges for both injection and withdrawal, and capacity-based charges. Results show that the new distribution world -open by new technology choices for grid users- is highly interactive and threatens grid regulation not understanding it.
    • Least-cost distribution network tariff design in theory and practice

      Schittekatte, Tim; Meeus, Leonardo (2018)
      In this paper a game-theoretical model with self-interest pursuing consumers is introduced to assess how to design a least-cost distribution tariff under two constraints that regulators typically face. The first constraint is related to difficulties regarding the implementation of cost-reflective tariffs. In practice, so-called cost-reflective tariffs are only a proxy for the actual cost driver(s) in distribution grids. The second constraint has to do with fairness. There is a fear that active consumers investing in distributed energy resources (DER) might benefit at the expense of passive consumers. We find that both constraints have a significant impact on the least-cost network tariff design, and the results depend on the state of the grid. If most of the grid investments still have to be made, passive and active consumers can both benefit from cost-reflective tariffs, while this is not the case for passive consumers if the costs are mostly sunk.