Electricity and Natural Gas Tariff Analysis
Much of the work done in energy research involves an analysis of the costs and benefits of energy-saving technologies and other measures from the perspective of the consumer. The economic value in particular depends on the price of energy (electricity, gas, or other fuel), which varies significantly both for different types of consumers and for different regions of the country. Ideally, to provide accurate information about the economic value of energy savings, prices should be computed directly from real tariffs as defined by utility companies, including time-of-use and seasonal pricing. A large number of utility tariffs are available on the Internet, but the complexity and diversity of tariff structures presents a considerable barrier to using them in practice. The EES group, through its Tariff Analysis Project (TAP), is collecting and archiving a statistically complete sample of real utility tariffs and building a set of database and web tools that make this information relatively easy to use in cost-benefit analysis. While TAP has been designed to handle tariffs for any kind of utility service, the focus here is on electric utilities within the United States. Electricity tariffs can be very complicated, so the database structures that have been built to accommodate them are quite flexible and can be easily generalized to other commodities.