Curtailment ordinances as an approach to electricity shortages

by Jan Paul Acton

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback10 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Electricity shortages--either short run due to equipment failure, or longer run due to unavailability of capacity or fuel--may be an increasingly common feature of electricity supply in future decades. Lessons from handling other shortage situations may be useful for policy considerations. Reviews the Los Angeles experience with an electricity curtailment ordinance during 1973-1974, the effects of that ordinance on major classes of customers, and considers lessons for future shortages. The ordinance was successful as a short-run policy in reducing demand to avoid system outages. By setting targets it permitted flexibility by individual establishments. This flexibility in individual response seems to have been important in the observed widespread compliance. Factors to be noted in assessing transferability of the Los Angeles plan: (1) The ordinance had broad public support. (2) The surcharge could be ordered by a state Public Utilities Commission. (3) The reduction was due to efforts by commercial customers who represented 50 percent of sales.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.