Environmental protection through energy conservation: A ‘free lunch’ at last ?

  • Larry E. Ruff
  • Nick Woodward
Part of the Studies in Regulation book series (STUDREG)


Energy conservation will surely play a large role in the costly effort necessary to reduce environmental problems. Furthermore, utilities (among others) can facilitate conservation by ‘reducing market imperfections,’ i.e., by finding innovative ways to offer conservation services in the market in competition with energy itself. But the current enthusiasm for utility demand-side programmes goes beyond the common-sense observation that conservation will thrive if given the opportunity to compete with supply as a way to meet consumer needs at minimum economic and environmental cost. Instead, it is commonly argued that, if only normal market concepts and processes are set aside where conservation is concerned, both energy use and energy costs can be reduced simultaneously, yielding environmental benefits as virtually a ‘free lunch.’.


Electricity Price Environmental Cost Free Lunch Level Playing Field High Electricity Price 
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  1. Cicchetti, C and Hogan, W (1989), Public Utilities Fortnightly, June 8Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Regulatory Policy Institute 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry E. Ruff
  • Nick Woodward

There are no affiliations available

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