In part one of this two-part blog series, we talked about some of the top utility regulation trends for 2017, the last full year on the books. PUCs continue to look at a variety of issues and trends, with several important areas sticking out.
At the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, we’re always abreast of the various leanings of our industry. Here are five more general trends in areas like public utility records, complaints and more.
Renewable Investments on the Rise
Renewable energy has been on the rise for several years, and 2017 was the biggest yet. Huge investments have followed lowering renewable energy costs, with more and more consumers looking for completely renewable choices.
There are several examples of large renewable projects being undertaken, including billion-dollar or more projects in Texas, New Mexico, Virginia and other locations.
New Energy Storage Opportunities
Energy storage is gaining more and more steam as a vital part of this industry, with utility companies around the country realizing it’s a necessary asset. Several states passed energy storage regulations in 2017, with others opening broader inquiries to refine their policies. There are also several new innovative projects on the horizon here.
Customer and System Data Access
2017 also saw increasingly rapid development of smart meters, plus the additional data they help provide on customers. As such, many states have considered data access rules to help customers stay abreast of their usage, plus to help utility companies transition to an approach that focuses more on the customer and the business model.
The Department of Energy’s proposed bailout of coal and nuclear plants definitely affected the utility industry, with many states believing it contravened their authority. Multiple states opened inquiries, and this area could signal huge changes on the market.
DER Future Rate Design
Areas like rooftop solar and other technologies have led to changing rate design proposals for default energy rates. Various pilots are being attempted to change the way rates are tracked and which are considered most important.
For more on public utility trends in the market, or to learn about how we help with utility company complaints and public utility records search needs, speak to the staff at the Public Service Commission of South Carolina today.