Demand-Side Management in less developed western countries - a realistic option ?

A. Gomes Martins, Humberto Jorge

Dept. Electrical Engineering - FCT University of Coimbra

INESC, Portugal

Rua Antero de Quental, 199

3000 Coimbra


Tel.:351 - 39 - 3 26 89          Fax: 351 - 39 - 2 46 92





The paper assesses the issue of the present impact of DSM policies in less developed western European countries, using Portugal as a case-study. It characterises the present situation where only incipient efforts have been made so far towards a consistent DSM policy, identifying some of its possible causes and also the already existing instruments - regulatory, economic and promotional. It points out some apparent paradoxes as for instance the contradiction between the existence of a tariff system based on TOU rates and the total absence of promotion of some of its potentialities for increasing overall system efficiency. Also some tendencies to present DSM as the motivation for regulatory measures that turn out to be political rather than economic instruments help discussing the role and context of regulatory activities. The paper also addresses issues related to the present state of supply-side planning in the context of the expectable economic growth and the possible motivations for the apparent absence of an IRP perspective. Some of the conclusions are used as possible guidelines for understanding the present situation in less developed countries. Also the present situation in the electricity sector, which was traditionally vertically integrated and state-owned is new, with important investments already privately owned and a non-vertically integrated structure, much resembling the first steps of the United Kingdom experience. The short- and mid-term consequences of this for the penetration of DSM programs are discussed, in view of the point of departure and foreign experiences. Finally, some proposals are presented that may help to overcome some of the main present difficulties.