Momentum grows for piloting Netflix-like fixed subscription rates, but not everyone’s on board

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Momentum is growing for giving electricity customers the kind of predictable subscription bill options that smartphone and home entertainment customers get.

Fixed rates — once preferred to align costs and revenues — are losing regulatory support as variable supply and load make demand peaks the bigger concern. Dynamic rates with price signals that flatten peaks and shift load to match supply are becoming the favored rate design. But the subscription rate concept, coupled with enabling smart home energy management technologies, is gaining momentum and could offer the benefits of both.

“Energy costs today are higher than they should be because customers value bill simplicity more than savings or environmental impacts,” Brattle Group Principal Ryan Hledik, co-author of a new paper outlining a subscription-based rate design, told Utility Dive. “A FixedBill+ rate can combine a…

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