Friday, April 27, 2012

How do we create an ethical grid?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Posted by Housley Carr, guest blogger for energy efficiency markets

So much of what happens in offices these days - and forever really - discussion has focused on these: what is best for the company? How do we increase profits?

This is completely understandable, because the primary responsibility of the profit-driven companies should benefit its owners and investors. Still, as individuals, and I would responsibility that go beyond improving the financial bottom line claim as we have part of the capitalist system. Above all, we have a duty to be ethical.

The original thought almost everyone in business or Government, when comes the question of ethics is, "Oh, I am ethical in everything I do." "I following the letter of the law." But there are much more than that, and energy-efficiency of the U.S. electric industry offers a perfect example.

When it comes to ethics, there are three ways of doing business: fornication, amorally and morally. The immoral approach based on pure selfishness; The goal of the immoral Manager is profitability and organisational success at any cost.

The immoral approach, which unfortunately is a dominant in its US business, focuses on what legally be done in order to maximize profits. Amoral Manager may well gemeinte, but they give much thought about what their decisions mean to others. There is no empathy.

Moral managers are different. You do their thoughts and plans through a different filter before you make a decision. You questions, "what I am doing is fair towards others?" "Is it only?"

My definition of an ethical grid flows thereof. For me, an ethical grid is an electrical industry, in which the rights and obligations of utilities are thorough and balanced properly with the legitimate interests of consumers, environment and society.

What does this mean when it comes to energy efficiency? You think it would be hard to argue against EE. Anyway, it helps customers to reduce their electricity bill, and it cuts the use of fossil fuels and emissions resulting from their use.

Nevertheless the evaluation is from an ethical perspective of the degree to the utilities should help their customers more energy efficient are not an easy task. There is to consider a lot.

From the perspective of the customer, the advantages of aggressive utility programs funded efficiency are clear and significant. Most of the houses and many companies are quite inefficient and would win pretty much if a utility to isolate and in old lights for new and replace energy-hog devices and equipment change, incentives.

Society as a whole seems also to win if the utility customers took a huge leap forward in terms of efficiency. Finally a customer base which was more stingy in its energy consumption would require less power and utilities by much less fossil fuel burn could get.

That would reduce not only the emissions. It would reduce the need for mountain save coal-mining and natural gas Fracking and more the nation of fossil fuels for future generations. Company, more efficient energy would also probably more competitive and successful, to protect, to secure existing jobs and perhaps create new.

But utilities - especially those private - are regulated and are entitled by their supervisory authorities, a rate of return on equity or profits to earn. And finally, energy companies were created to electricity. There is really no justification for them to help their customers of less and what historically less of their primary product was?

An easy way to solve ethical problems is to use circles a Venn diagram with three partially overlapping with the term "legal responsibility", "economic responsibility" and "ethical responsibility." The sweet spot is in the Middle, where all three circles overlap, where utilities, regulators, and EE-advocates every day should find.

There is no perfect model yet for the provision of utilities with only the right financial incentives residential and business customers optimize their energy efficiency and minimize their use of electricity. But it is clear who the model track with devotion the ethical thing to do is learn what others are doing, until we make it correct measurement of success of different approaches and fine tuning.

Housley is the founder and editor of, a new web-based publication that focuses on ethical issues in the U.S. electric industry.

View the original article here

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