Synthesis Report: A Summary of Research on Information Disclosure
In November 1996, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) adopted a Resolution in Support Of Customer Right-To-Know and Product Labeling Standards for Retail Marketing Of Electricity and identified the need to provide retail consumers with clear and uniform disclosure to compare price, price variability, resource mix and environmental characteristics of their electricity purchases. Following NARUCs resolution, the National Council on Competition and the Electric Industry (the National Council), a joint undertaking of state utility regulators and state legislators, initiated a major research effort to provide the consumer and policy research needed by states and others to implement the resolution. This report summarizes the results of the National Council’s research. The research had many facets, but the core of it was very simple: researchers employed modern consumer research techniques to ask customers what information would be useful. Customers said that the critical issues for them were the price they would be charged and the environmental characteristics of the electricity generation they would be purchasing. This research and report focuses not only on customers desires, but also on related issues, including how could the information customers were requesting could be developed, and what would be an effective means to convey that information. The research also solicited, and this report summarizes, input on information disclosure from a broad variety of other stakeholders, including utility and nonutility suppliers, customer representatives, environmental organizations, and utility regulators, and other policymakers.