At the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, we’re proud to provide quality regulation and adjudication for public utility records and services. Whether it’s serving utility company complaints or administering various regulatory processes, we ensure the South Carolina public is well-served.
As experts in the field, our utility professionals are always abreast of the trends in industry regulation. With that in mind, here’s part one of a two-part blog going over some of the 2017 trends we saw in this area.
Rewarding Performance Against Objectives
In the year 2017, many states began moving toward a system that better reflects new market conditions and allows utilities to capitalize on the growing service economy. In essence, this allows them to reward for performance against established goals.
For instance, in August, staff of the Michigan Public Service Commission filed a report recommending new regulatory framework to allow demand response investments to be recoverable with a rate of return.
Establishing Dynamic, Flexible Grids
We’re firmly into the 21st century when it comes to electricity, and grids need to reflect this. A big trend in 2017 was various investments to help facilitate the integration of more assets into grids, including modernization plans or advanced metering roll-outs.
Reconsidering Distribution System Planning
Several different states used the year 2017 to begin expanding distribution system planning. In the past, this would focus solely on investments in poles and wires – today, however, it includes new technologies and DERs that can provide better performance, in some cases at lower costs. Numerous states have begun programs here to modernize their system planning.
Retail Net Energy Metering Successors
For a long time, net energy metering (NEM) has been a big part of initiating the adoption of distributed solar in many areas. As the number of NEM customers goes up, however, there’s been building pressure for alternative rate designs and successor tariffs for these customers. There was lots of activity here in 2017, including several states grandfathering in existing metering customers but setting new requirements for new ones.
Electric Vehicle Integration
States are looking for ways to lower their carbon emissions while utilities try to increase electricity sales, and one way to kill two birds with one stone here is increasing adoption of electric car and transportation programs. Several states have filed large proposals for huge investments in pilot or demonstration projects, with more proposals on the way.
For more on trends in utility regulation, or to learn about any of our services, contact the Public Service Commission of South Carolina today.