Flexible electricity consumption policies in Norway and Sweden: Implications for energy justice

Energy Research & Social Science, Vol 110, April 2024, 23 p. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2024.103466

Policies for shifting household electricity load are in focus in several countries, aimed at optimizing grid operation and tackling current and expected challenges from consumption patterns, like increased peak loads on the grid. Central here are recent developments in capacity charges, where the use of significant amounts of grid capacity is priced high, compared to the traditional pricing of electricity consumption. These capacity charges tend to be developed at the interface between system needs and incumbent actor influence from the sector on the one side, and arguments for a ‘just’ and consumer-oriented design, like simplicity and actual effect on behaviour, on the other. Comparing the consultation processes concerning policy design in Norway and Sweden, this study investigates if and how these capacity charge policies consider consumer perspectives and needs, and explores the implications for energy justice. The two countries have similar tariff models, but differing consumer considerations have become apparent. In both countries, the policy process has been dominated by sector incumbent actors; the consumer considerations that were included were weak, general, and not grounded in knowledge. Consumer representation has been low. In this study, we note the implications for recognition, procedural, and distributional justice. Our findings indicate the need for further development of balanced policy processes within the energy sector.



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