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Utility and university come together to teach about electricity

One of the big ideas behind electricity deregulation is to give people access to the shifting markets for electricity, to try to find savings that utility companies did not.

But utility company PJM Interconnection and the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Institute for Urban Research explained to AOL Energy that one big problem in getting people to adapt to deregulation is the general lack of understanding about this market.

"We need to educate people about the changes that are happening in the world of electricity," Eugenie Birch, co-director of the Institute, told the news source. "Our objective is to create more knowledge of demand response."

Birch explained how researchers had quizzed several UPenn students about the electricity industry, and even these highly educated people all failed.

In response, the two partners have come together to create the Electricity Price Ticker, a website designed to allow people to monitor the fluctuations in wholesale electricity prices. This site explains some of the key terms in electricity, but also shows how much prices can move up and down throughout the day, as demand from industry and others rises during the day.

The key to electricity deregulation is the ability of retail electricity providers to predict these fluctuations in prices so that they can lock in more reasonable prices, passing these savings on to their customers.