This thesis revisits all the aspects related to the economic regulation of electricity distribution and proposes several recommendations to adapt current regulatory practices to facilitate the efficient integration of smart grid technologies and distributed energy resources. The thesis starts with a review of the economic theory supporting current regulatory practices together with an overview of how regulation has evolved over the last decades. Subsequently, the new challenges posed by the connection of new types of distribution network users and technological developments are discussed. Next, the thesis addresses how allowed revenues of distribution companies are determined and reviews the main regulatory tools used for these purposes. Particular emphasis is placed on regulatory benchmarking. A new taxonomy of benchmarking techniques is proposed and a comprehensive discussion about the pros and cons of different approaches is presented. Furthermore, a framework to determine the allowed revenues of distribution system operators suitable for the new context is proposed and illustrated through an implementation strategy for the Spanish context. Finally, the thesis addresses the design of regulatory incentives related with continuity of supply and energy losses in distribution networks. A review of the relevant theoretical and practical issues serves as the basis to analyze how the design and implementation of these incentive schemes should be adapted to respond to the penetration of smart grid technologies and distributed energy resources.
Universidad Pontificia Comillas. Madrid (España)
11 July 2013