Hard numbers support operating- and capital-cost claims for gen plants.
David Bell is a vice president with Smart Signal Corp., and Jason Makansi is president of technology-deployment consulting firm Pearl Street Inc.
It’s been a long time since many electric utilities have had to ask their rate commissions for the amounts of money they’re asking for today. States with deregulation programs either have frozen rates or reduced them over the last decade, in the hopes that competition would naturally lower prices to consumers. Now those programs are ending and their success is questionable. Utilities in more regulated states haven’t faced since the 1970s new build programs like the ones currently contemplated. And, everyone is paying far more for fuel today than they expected to only a few years ago, so fuel adjustment clauses or pass-through are also on the docket.
As a result, utilities are preparing new rate-case strategies, i.e., plans for how to communicate with the regulator and the public about why higher rates are necessary. One question often asked by regulators is “what are you doing to get the most out of the assets you have?” Testimony from recent hearings reveals the application of real-time performance monitoring and diagnostic (PM&D) technologies can bolster the case.