What regulators think about emerging utility business models

Published: Thu 05 Jun 2014
A blog entry by Smart Grid Watch

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What do utility regulators think about emerging utility business models? A new survey of 35 North American utility regulators reveals that their opinions are split on some key areas:

  1. Renewables and revenue. Just over half of the regulators said that they think net metering and rooftop solar represents a revenue collection problem for utilities that should be addressed. The California PUC is addressing this issue following legislation passed last year.
  2. Rate fairness. Almost 40% of regulators believe that current rate designs are not fair to all customer classes.
  3. Generation capacity concerns. Nearly 60% of regulators reported concern that their service territories might have insufficient generation resources. This is surprising, since the North American Electric Reliability Council projects an average reserve margin this year of 28% across all its planning regions (U.S. and Canada) -- nearly double the recommended minimum of 15%.
  4. More demand response needed. A third of regulators are concerned that there there aren't enough demand response programs available.
  5. More energy efficiency needed. Just over half of regulators also believe that more energy efficiency programs are needed.

One regulator observed that two intersecting trends which are having a combined significant impact on utility industry are slow demand growth and increasing infrastructure needs.

 

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