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Impact of the enforcement of a Time-of-Use tariff to Residential customers in Italy

pubblicazioni - Memoria

Impact of the enforcement of a Time-of-Use tariff to Residential customers in Italy

In questo articolo si analizzano gli effetti sui consumatori domestici italiani del passaggio sia dalla tariffa monoraria alla tariffa bioraria transitoria sia dalla tariffa bioraria transitoria a quella definitiva. Vengono inoltre proposte alcune soluzioni per rendere la tariffa più efficace.

Flat tariff has always been the default condition for residential customers in Italy and only starting from July, 1st 2010, the Italian Authority for Electricity and Gas (AEEG) approved the entry into force of a mandatory time-of-use (ToU) tariff at two-part rate periods among them.It provides for variable prices of electricity depending on the hour of the day: the price is higher during “peak hours” (the hours between 8 am and 7 pm on working days) and lower during “off-peak hours” (all remaining hours); the price difference between the two groups of hours is fixed and equal to 10% during the first transitional phase, while, beginning from January, 1st 2012, the price difference has become higher. The introduction of the time-of-use tariff represents an unprecedented occasion to explore the changes of customers’ behaviour in response to time variable electricity prices: 20 millions of families have, in fact, been paying their electricity consumptions with a variable price during the day since July 2010. In order to assess the impact of the tariff in the short and medium term among Italian customers, R.S.E. has started a national project on residential loads and demand, in collaboration and under the patronage of AEEG. To such an aim, a group composed of about 28.000 household users, statistically representative of the whole Italian population, has been selected and analyzed: their electricity consumption data are measured by smart meters and are made available by the corresponding DSO’s with a monthly frequency, starting from July 2009; this allows for an analysis of the change of consumption behaviour after both the switch from flat tariff to transitional ToU tariff (July 2010) and the shift from transitional to the final ToU tariff (January 2012). The paper presents the results of such analysis: they show that, even if there has been a limited shift of consumptions from peak hours to off-peak hours, the change in the behaviour of the users is not negligible; the values of the elasticity of consumptions vs. price we have estimated are, in fact, higher than those usually found in literature, showing an unexpected attitude of users to positively respond to very small price signals. Another interesting fact is the huge variety of customer behaviours, from those who have radically changed the timing of their consumption in order to comply with the price signals of the ToU tariff, to customers so unconcerned as to move their consumptions in the opposite direction. Particular attention has been paid to the possible causes that have contributed to limit the amount of energy shifted from peak hours to off-peak hours. The paper analyses also the impact of some possible solutions in order to make the tariff more effective such as increasing the price signal or revising the splitting between peak and off-peak hours. This will induce greater flexibility in the customers, encouraging them to shift more consumptions towards the time in which the price is lower.

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