Electricity Rate Structure Design in Latin America: Where Do We Stand? Where Should We Go?

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Aug 2023
This paper reviews some critical issues for addressing the structure of electricity tariffs for ulterior purposes of policy research agenda. Starting from economic principles behind electricity tariff design, this paper asks what options ahead Latin America has in terms of improving electricity tariff design from a heterogeneous status quo, where trade-offs among cost recovery, cost reflectivity and affordability stand out. Options look like an avenue for improving cost recovery through better wholesale market design and regulation; move outside excess volumetric pricing and towards fixed and capacity charges; reduce excessive increasing block pricing; promote metering and regulatory flexibility for menu pricing with optional schemes and guaranteed bills; foster flexibility for new customer clustering and pricing to accommodate innovation in the energy transition; attend affordability with lump sum transfers through differentiated fixed charges and taxes and reform taxation to coordinate tariff format reform across different regulatory jurisdictions. Above all these dimensions, countries should coordinate on common information standards on the level and structure of electricity rates.