Let's Talk Electricity Rates

with Harvey Michaels, Faculty MIT Sloan Sustainability

As summer air conditioning season gets into full swing, let’s discuss what makes electric rates so high for many of us, at about twice the national average -  and how we can respond, considering our personal choices, as well as perhaps working together towards policy changes. And how do these high rates impact the state’s transition to heat pumps and electric vehicles, so important for the climate? 


Electricity providers may soon offer time-varying electric rates, possible with new electric meters now being installed.  These rates encourage us to shift when we use electricity, towards the times when the power grid can least expensively provide it.


If we did, we could reduce power grid peaks: reducing electric rates for everyone, and allowing some of the high-emitting peak power stations to be closed permanently. Heat pumps and EVs would also be more financially compelling, benefitting the climate.


But there are some concerns: will these new rates benefit justice communities as well?  And are they too complicated – or might the new AI-enabled apps and devices make this easier to do? Let’s consider the possibilities.


About Harvey Michaels


Harvey Michaels, a member of JCAN’s “Legs and Regs” committee, will lead the discussion, following some introductory material.  He serves as Lecturer of Energy Management Innovation within MIT’s Sloan Sustainability program, and also advises energy and climate policymakers on electric rate innovations and utility energy efficiency policies. His focus this year has been the needed transition to heat pump and EVs, and how AI-enabled smart homes may help.  Harvey’s earlier career included leadership of several energy efficiency companies.


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