State Regulation & Policy News

Oregon Halves PacifiCorp Rate Request

Pursuant to a partial stipulation, the Oregon Public Utility Commission granted PacifiCorp dba Pacific Power a mere 0.5-percent increase in its base rates, or $20.7 million. The utility had asked for $41.2 million in rate relief, an increase of 3.5 percent. The parties to the settlement had been unable to agree on specific values for the company’s cost-of-capital components, but listed in the stipulation a “notational value” of 9.8 percent for ROE.

North Carolina Approves Dominion Rate Base Expansion

Upon review of Dominion North Carolina Power’s petition for $63.66 million in additional revenues, the North Carolina Utilities Commission authorized the utility to increase its nonfuel base rates by $36.44 million. The commission rejected the company’s recommended ROE of 11.25 percent in favor of a 10.2-percent ROE instead. For the full story and more analysis, subscribe to Utility Regulatory News

Missouri PSC Approves Modernization Investments

In awarding an electric utility more than $260 million in rate relief, Missouri Public Service Commission explained that the utility, Union Electric dba Ameren Missouri, had demonstrated that its earnings had been deteriorating and that absent additional revenues it would be unable to maintain its system or invest in badly needed facility expansions and improvements. It approved a rate of return on equity of 9.8 percent as opposed to the 10.50-percent level suggested by the company.

Michigan PSC Allows 2% Gas Rate Increase

In a natural gas rate case, the Michigan Public Service Commission permitted Michigan Consolidated Gas (MichCon) to increase its base rates by $19.9 million, or 2 percent. The new rates were in accord with a partial settlement that trimmed the company’s original rate increase request of $76.7 million by almost three-fourths. The company stipulated to a 10.5-percent ROE.

Kentucky PSC Approves Rate Hikes for KU and LG&E

In a pair of rate proceedings resolved by settlement, the Kentucky Public Service Commission approved rate increases for Kentucky Utilities (KU) and Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E). The KU agreement allows the utility to raise its rates by $51 million, compared to its application for an $82.4 million increase. The LG&E settlement provides $33.7 million in additional electric revenues and $15 million in additional natural gas revenues.

Maine OKs Floating Wind Farm

Finding that the cutting-edge technology proposed to be used by a wind power developer in constructing an offshore wind energy facility could improve both the state’s economy and its demographics, the Maine Public Utilities Commission authorized the developer, Statoil North America, to proceed with its plans for the pilot project. The commission reported that the most intriguing aspect of the developer’s plan was its reliance on a novel “spar buoy” design that would make the Hywind Maine project the country’s first offshore floating wind farm.

Minnesota PUC Reopens Wind Project Case

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission announced it will re-examine the proposed 78-MW Goodhue wind project in Goodhue County, given changes in ownership structure, financing, date of service, and operating elements. New Era (formerly AWA Goodhue), the current project owner, and Xcel Energy, the power purchaser, are re-negotiating project milestones, including the in-service date.

California Orders SCE to Procure Energy Storage

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a decision ordering Southern California Edison (SCE) to procure between 1,400 and 1,800 MW of energy capacity in the Los Angeles basin to meet long-term local requirements by 2021. Of this amount, at least 50 MW is required by the CPUC to be procured by SCE from energy storage resources, as well as up to an additional total of 600 MW of capacity required to be procured from preferred resources – including energy storage. “Preferred resources” also include energy efficiency, demand respon