Where is it Most Relevant Today?
Cameron Brooks is founder and President of E9 Insight, a Boulder, Colorado firm that tracks regulatory proceedings and provides customized research for U.S. electric utility industry companies, agencies, and organizations active in establishing policies that advance clean energy resources.
Last fall, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners embarked on a yearlong project to look closely at questions surrounding rate design. They acted in the face of rapidly advancing distributed energy adoption.
In the words of NARUC's then-President Travis Kavulla, the goal was to develop a manual that could serve as a resource for commissioners as they "grapple with the complicated issues of rate design for distributed generation."
NARUC established a new subcommittee on rate design. It was charged with developing the manual to assist jurisdictions in navigating the challenges, considerations, and policy development related to compensating distributed energy resources.
The manual drew great attention, with over seventy parties providing input on a draft released for public comment last July. And while the manual is intended to serve as a resource for rate design, it also recognizes that the ratemaking process is often said to be more art than science.
The manual provides a great overview of a wide range of distributed energy resources, but also makes clear that there are many related issues that could not be addressed in this initial effort.