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Energy policy and the public energy utility

Smith, Greg (1983) Energy policy and the public energy utility. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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The present study focuses upon the emerging cost constraints which make it increasingly difficult for energy utilities to pursue the objectives they have adhered to in the past. The presence of these constraints is illustrated with reference to the utility systems of Ontario, California, Victoria and Western Australia. To varying degrees in each of these systems, policy matters have been addressed as a means of placing utility operations on a more viable footing. The demand forecast is a key element in any contemplated shift of policy emphasis. Once the principle of demand modification via efficiency improvements is accepted as an alternative to new supply, a new element of flexibility is introduced to energy policy. The main thrust of the study is to demonstrate that the utility has the potential to contribute significantly to such improvements in the efficiency of energy use by means of the way it sets its prices and pursues its investment programmes. A re-orientation of investment towards conservation and renewables would not only produce fuel savings, it would also S' further relieve financial pressure because of the shorter lead times associated with these investments. If these elements in the re-orientation of policy are to receive proper consideration, however, they need to be dealt with outside the decision-making framework that applies to utility operations. An Energy Policy Commission should be specifically constituted for the purpose of providing independent evaluation of on-going matters of policy. Broader questions of environmental and social impact would also logically come within its mandate. The focus of the study at this juncture is on the institutional means of satisfactorily giving expression to public wants vis a vis the issues of energy policy. If satisfactory expression can be given, the Energy Policy Commission and its accompanying apparatus offer the prospect of a creative enlargement of the framework within which utilities operate.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Harman, Frank
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