The evolution of electricity systems raises fundamental
questions about how to balance innovation with
costs to individuals, particularly those individuals
who are less able to participate in or benefit from the innovation.
Who bears the costs of modernization, and how
we distribute the burdens and benefits, are societal questions
with policy implications that underlie the concept of
energy justice. Energy justice looks beyond income-based
discount rates that, while necessary, are alone too blunt a
tool to optimize the underlying dynamics that create the
need for such discounts.
This Comment proposes a framework
for evaluating energy justice, recognizing that there
is not, nor need be, a uniform definition of what energy
justice means or what it seeks to achieve. The authority
and process for implementing this framework will differ
across jurisdictions, but the Comment examines some of
the questions that state legislatures and ratemaking agencies
will face when integrating energy justice considerations
into their regulation of electricity markets.