Pricing

Arizona on Value of Solar

Turning Point for Distributed Energy

In December 2016, Arizona's utility regulators set in motion a new policy many believe is likely to undermine investment in solar and other distributed technologies in the state. We urge advocates and regulators looking for sustainable models of state DER policy to think carefully before following Arizona's example.

Why Are We Still Arguing About NEM?

Competitive Market Will Take Care of Next Burning Issue

I do not understand why we are still distracted by Net Energy Metering (NEM). It worked well when we had not-so-smart meters and were trying to encourage rooftop solar penetration. People in general and students of regulation in particular are left confused and can easily find some support for both sides. This results in conflicts and proposed compromises that keep the debate going at full tilt. Two things are missing or mostly overlooked in all this regulatory discourse.

FERC, Renewables and Potatoes

Hidden Costs of Externalities

We continue to rush towards a renewable future without considering overall system design, the costs that various renewable scenarios impose on grid operation, and the operation of the grid with these scenarios. When the externalities of climate change and ocean acidification create an overwhelming mandate to move away from fossil fuels, we have no choice but to go forward. Shouldn't we try to pick the cheapest path?

Capitalism Debates Socialism in Honolulu

Hawaii Considering Alternatives to Private Sector Ownership

Lawmakers in Hawaii are really asking three interconnected questions. Do we need stockholders or shareholders to finance our electric utility? Are we comfortable with private sector management setting goals for the local electricity business? If the electric business is run publicly as a not-for-profit, how will we set rates?

2016 Annual Rate Case Survey

It is often said that ratemaking is as much art as science.

It is the process of setting a return on equity that is fair to both shareholders and consumers that demonstrates the art and science practiced by regulators. One case reported here provides a good glimpse at the entire range of issues put before regulators: a decision by the Michigan Public Service Commission setting electric rates for Consumers Power Company.

Rethinking Rate Design

Berkeley Lab’s Discussion with Five Experts

Five of our industry's top thought leaders weigh in on the white-hot controversy of rate design as utilities and regulators plot a course for electricity's future.

Energy People: Adam Sieminski

We talked with Adam Sieminski, Administrator at the Energy Information Administration

Adam Sieminski became the eighth administrator of the EIA in 2012. While awaiting confirmation as EIA administrator, Sieminski served as senior director for energy and environment on the staff of the National Security Council.

Competing Perspectives on Demand Charges

Survey of consumer advocates identifies areas of agreement and disagreement

This article summarizes perspectives on both sides of the demand charge issue. Based on this review, it proposes practical initiatives to address key concerns about residential demand charges.

Here Comes the Sun

Growing Impacts of Residential Solar on Utility Customer Service

What does PV mean for utilities’ residential customer service operations? From helping customers with supplier selection, through installation and maintenance issues? And with billing? To begin to address this question, we conducted two sets of surveys of residential electricity customers in the second quarter of 2016.

Ratemaking and the Campaign Against Rooftop Solar

Rate design should balance consumer and investor interests.

Regulators should ensure that changes to rate design seek to balance consumer and utility interests. Rates that are intended to insulate utilities from economic and technological change while providing no benefits to consumers ought to be considered unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory.