Consumers found to be more open to renewable energy surcharge if they believe it is fair

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A trio of researchers with RWI in Essen, Germany has found that electricity consumers were more open to paying a renewable energy surcharge when they thought it was being fairly collected. In their paper published in the journal Nature Energy, Mark Andor, Manuel Frondel and Stephan Sommer describe a survey they took of people living in Germany and what they found. Claudia Schwirplies of Hamburg University offers a News and Views piece on the work by the team in the same journal issue.

The government in Germany has made clear its intention to have the country reduce its carbon emissions, policymakers there have instituted the German Energiewende—a national plan to reduce by 80 percent by 2050. To fund the project, have imposed a hefty surcharge on electricity users, which is pretty much everyone. Schwirplies notes that the surcharge currently makes up nearly a quarter of the total amount on a customer's bill. But not everyone is feeling the pain—electricity intensive companies receive exemptions because the government wants them to remain competitive in the international market. In this new effort, the researchers wondered how the issue of fairness might be impacting consumers' support of electricity surcharges for renewables. To find out, they conducted a survey of approximately 11,000 households.

Those polled were asked about their willingness to support an increase of 1, 2, or 4 cents to the electricity surcharge. But before answering, some respondents were given information about the companies that were receiving exemptions and others were given the same information but were also told it was being abolished. A third group received no information at all.

In looking at the results of their survey, the researchers found that those who were told about the exemptions only were 20 percent less receptive to increases in the . But those who were told the exemptions were being removed were 35 percent more receptive than those who thought the exemptions would remain in place. They also report that there were even larger differences among women and green party voters.

The researchers suggest their findings indicate that consumers are willing to go along with paying more for renewable energy surcharges so long as they see them as being applied fairly.

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More information: Mark A. Andor et al. Equity and the willingness to pay for green electricity in Germany, Nature Energy (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41560-018-0233-x

The production of electricity on the basis of renewable energy technologies is often discriminatively financed: the German energy-intensive sector, for instance, benefits from a far-reaching exemption rule, while all other electricity consumers are forced to bear a higher burden in the form of a higher surcharge on the net price of electricity. Here, we demonstrate that reducing this inequity in cost burden substantially raises household willingness to pay for green electricity. In a stated-choice experiment among about 11,000 households, participants who were informed about the energy industry exemption were less likely to accept an increase in the fixed surcharge per kilowatt hour than those who were not informed. However, participants who were informed about the industry exemption but then told that it would be abolished had significantly higher acceptance rates. This suggests that reducing inequity in the distribution of the cost burden increases the acceptance of bearing these costs. This outcome may have far-reaching implications for policymaking that extend to other domains where exemptions exist, such as carbon tax schemes.

Journal information: Nature Energy

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Citation: Consumers found to be more open to renewable energy surcharge if they believe it is fair (2018, September 11) retrieved 20 July 2019 from
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Sep 11, 2018
If these crooks think American consumers will buy this scam, they got another think coming. We will re-open our nuke plants and put the solar photovoltaics on all our roofs to get away from confiscatory rates. We will also create laws around protection of worthless species in order to make our deserts bloom with power and no emissions.....and to desalinize water to fill our empty lakes and raise humidity all over America, drought or no drought.

Sep 11, 2018
why do these 'researchers ' treat people like lab rats ? How would THEY feel about this question ?

Sep 11, 2018
A crucial part of this article is not what those who wrote it might have had in mind.
Critically, this demonstrates again a perception that many in the public can be led by what they believe to be true.
Note, nothing guarantees that the consumers actually know energy surcharges are being applied fairly, only that they have been led to accept that. A strong campaign by the "press" can affect a significant plurality to think such surcharges are "fair". Nothing says that it really is, though. The article tells individuals that exemptions for companies charging surcharges would be removed. Really, how likely is it that, if this were told to the populace overall, many would have the ability to look at the companies' finances to see whether the exemptions are still in place or not?
It should be mentioned, though, an increase of only 35% in acceptance of a surcharge is not so significant a result.

Sep 11, 2018
Osiris "We will re-open our nuke plants and put the solar photovoltaics on all our roofs to get away from confiscatory rates" Well good luck with that one Osiris. Fact is that new build wind and solar are much cheaper than nukes. There is good reason for the fact that global nuclear output has stagnated, where as wind and solar are on an exponential curve up - https://renewecon...t-91295/

Sep 12, 2018
"Consumers found to be more open to renewable energy surcharge if they believe it is fair"
I.e. those consumers who believe in Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.
"The sad truth is that Germany is, and has always been, a nation of superstitious, pseudoscientific, technophobic, eco-romantic mystics, obscurantists, Luddites and treehuggers,"-German economist Martin Mohl
"Germans are the biggest users of homeopathy... Germans love astrology…. Anti-vaxx groups are strong... Antisemitism & anti-semitic conspiracy theories are still running rampant."

"Fact is that new build wind and solar are much cheaper..."
"cheaper" except "batteries not included", neither coal/gas-fired backup plants nor integration costs.
Germany has about a hundred of gigawatts of installed-capacity of wind/solar enough to replace hard coal or lignite coal, but even so they will have to replace coal by natural gas(methane(CH₄): 70x worse than CO₂).

Sep 12, 2018
"...wind and solar are on an exponential curve up..."
RE zealots are ever hiding the fact that even after wind and solar reaching a spectacular milestone of ~1000GW of installed-capacity globally, at cost of trillions of dollars and huge ecological impacts, sunshine&breeze unicorn energy has failed miserably at reducing emissions and has caused the electricity prices to skyrocket almost everywhere except in states that have abundant supply of cheap gas/fracking that needs to be "greenwashed" by intermittent renewables.
"Electricity prices increased by:"
"51 percent in Germany during its expansion of solar and wind energy from 2006 to 2016;"
"over 100 percent in Denmark since 1995 when it began deploying renewables (mostly wind) in earnest."

Sep 15, 2018
Europe is accepting Middle East warriors by the 100s of thousands. Their women are being raped and their men are being killed. Yet there is no real uproar. Thus,,,,,why would they ever complain about a doubling of their electric bill. They live in a submissive hell hole.

Sep 16, 2018
MR "Their women are being raped and their men are being killed... They live in a submissive hell hole"
Rape statistics - U.S. 27.3 per 100,000 Europe - 10.19 per 100,000
Murders - U.S. 5, Belgium 1.82, Denmark 1.01, Finland 2.5, France 1.31, Germany 0.86, Italy 1.1, Netherlands 0.93, Norway 0.6, Portugal 1.17, Scotland 1.79, Spain 0.9, Sweden 0.89, Switzerland 0.71 etc.

You are such a little racist MR - and easy to show how you want to spread lies and hate. You and I live in an ignorant and submissive hell hole.

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