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Dr. Wharton specializes in the development of new business models and innovative pricing policies for regulated industries, including electric power, water, and natural gas.

He assists companies in these dramatically changing industries to address global climate change, energy and water conservation, rising infrastructure investment needs, and declining sales in order to adapt to federal and state policies aimed at addressing the energy-economy-environment nexus.

In the 1990s, Dr. Wharton worked extensively on an earlier structural change in the energy industries that brought competition to wholesale and retail markets, which led to a decade of changing market structures. Before joining The Brattle Group in 1996, Dr. Wharton was the Assistant to the CEO of The New England Electric System (now National Grid USA). He held managerial positions in rates, forecasting, and resource planning. He has also been at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Dun and Bradstreet.

Dr. Wharton is on the Advisory Panel of Retroficiency, a software company providing energy efficiency analytics for commercial buildings. He is a past President of the New England Economic Project, a Boston-based, nonprofit forecasting organization. In addition, he has served as a Faculty Instructor for the Annual EEI Electric Rate Advanced Course in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Representative Engagements
Incentive structure design
For a Southwestern utility, managed a project in which the utility filed for a profit incentive that would be earned upon successful completion of an aggressive energy efficiency program. Assisted the utility in designing the incentive structure and demonstrating the level of profit complied with the state law.
Generation resources procurement process
For an Eastern rural electric cooperative, managed the procurement process whereby the company sought to get competitive bids for a variety generation resources. Designed and helped issue an RFP, collecting bids from over 100 bidders from of several hundred MW, and set up the process for evaluation.
Annual forecast of enrollment in demand response programs
For a California utility, led a Brattle team that made annual long-term forecasts of the enrollment in seven demand response (DR) programs from 2009 to 2012. This was a critical input to the utility’s long-term resource plan. Also prepared a report on the long-term load impacts filed with the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC).
Effect on the Cost of Capital of Ratemaking that Relaxes the Linkage between Revenue and kWh Sales: An Updated Empirical Investigation of the Electric Industry
November 2016
Michael J. Vilbert, Joseph B. Wharton, Shirley Zhang, and James Hall
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Decoupling and the Cost of Capital
September 08, 2015
Published in The Electricity Journal
Incentive-Based Ratemaking: Recommendations to the Hawaiian Electric Companies
May 20, 2014
Prepared for The Hawaiian Electric Companies
The Impact of Revenue Decoupling on the Cost of Capital for Electric Utilities: An Empirical Investigation
March 20, 2014
Michael J. Vilbert, Joseph B. Wharton, Charles Gibbons, Melanie Rosenberg, and Yang Wei Neo
Prepared for The Energy Foundation
Alternative Regulation and Ratemaking Approaches for Water Companies
September 23, 2013
Joseph B. Wharton, Bente Villadsen, and Heidi Bishop
Prepared for the National Association of Water Companies
An Empirical Study of Impact of Decoupling on Cost of Capital, Update to 2012
June 21, 2013
Presented at the 26th Annual CRRI Western Conference, Monterey, CA
Telecom Transformation
November 29, 2012
Published in Public Utilities Fortnightly's Spark
A Markov Chain Approach to Forecasting Enrollments
June 28, 2012
Presented at the 25th Annual CRRI Western Conference, Monterey, CA
An Empirical Study of Impact of Decoupling on Cost of Capital
June 06, 2011
Presented at the National Conference of Regulatory Attorneys, Missoula, MT
PG&E's Non-Residential Enrollment Forecast
April 26, 2011
Joseph B. Wharton and Jennifer Palmer
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Modeling the Enrollment Forecasts for PG&E ’s Non-Residential DR Programs, 2010 - 2020
May 13, 2010
Presented to DRMEC
2009 Integrated Resource Plan for Connecticut
January 2009
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
Understanding Debt Imputation Issues
June 2008
Prepared for The Edison Electric Institute
The Zone of Reasonableness and Long Term Power Contracts
March 12, 2007
Published by The Brattle Group, Inc.
The CAISO's Physical Validation Settlement Service: A Useful Tool for All LMP-Based Markets
October 2005
Metin Celebi, Joseph B. Wharton, Philip Q Hanser, and Jared S. des Rosiers
Published in The Electricity Journal
Keeping Up with Retail Access? Developments in U.S. Restructuring and Resource Procurement for Regulated Retail Service
December 2004
Published in The Electricity Journal
Unbundling and Rebundling Retail Generation Service: A Tale of Two Transitions
February 25, 2002
Prepared for the Edison Electric Institute Conference on Unbundling/Rebundling Utility Generation and Transmission, New Orleans, LA
Provider of Last Resort Service Hindering Retail Market Development
Published in Natural Gas
The FERC, Stranded Cost Recovery, and Municipalization
Gregory N. Basheda, Darrell B. Chodorow, Peter S. Fox-Penner, Dean M. Murphy, Joseph B. Wharton, Jason A. Hicks, Eric Hirst, and James K. Mitchell
Published in Energy Law Journal
News & Events
September 08, 2015
Brattle Economists Co-Author Article on Decoupling for The Electricity Journal

Brattle principals Michael Vilbert and Joseph Wharton recently co-authored an article on decoupling in August/September 2015 issue of The Electricity Journal.

June 25, 2014
Brattle Consultants to Present at CRRI’s 27th Annual Western Conference

Several Brattle consultants will participate in the upcoming Center for Research in Regulated Industries (CRRI) 27th Annual Western Conference, taking place from June 25 - 27, 2014 in Monterey, CA. CRRI is located at Rutgers University and aims to further study regulation in economics, finance, and institutions.

Personal Interests

Joe is an avid surfer and favors southern Orange County beaches, including the famous San Onofre State Beach Park. He practices yoga on a regular basis to stay limber enough to catch the waves. He also plays the piano at a recreational level, for the enjoyment of two young granddaughters whenever they visit.