The Iowa Utilities Board is currently soliciting responses to a dizzying list of questions posed as part of an ongoing investigation (Docket No. NOI-2014-0001) of distributed generation that was initiated in January 2014. The IUB’s 41 questions generally pertain to details of net metering and interconnection, including the treatment of customer net excess generation, whether the establishment of a separate customer class for DG customers is justified, technical screens for the interconnection of proposed systems, and whether it would be appropriate to adopt FERC’s recently revised Small Generation Interconnection Procedures. The IUB has also invited public comments on a 190-page staff memo that includes, among other things, a summary of previous comments submitted in this proceeding, staff analysis and recommendations. The deadline to submit responses and additional comments is 10/24/2014.
Interestingly, in its order inviting responses to specific DG-related questions, the IUB stated that it is “encouraged that more electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are following the Board’s interconnection [and net-metering] standards on a voluntary basis.” While the IUB declined at the time of its order to assert jurisdiction over electric cooperatives and municipal utilities, it “strongly encourages more of these utilities to adopt the Board’s standards so that the same standards apply in all parts of Iowa.”
PSEG has revised its initial LIPA Utility 2.0 proposal, which involves a series of utility investments related to energy efficiency and renewables, including customer-sited PV incentive programs. Under the revised proposal, PSEG has included a utility-owned solar-procurement project anticipated to provide peak demand savings of 20 MW. It has also proposes a total investment of $15 million to support customer-sited resources ranging from 200 kW to 2 MW, which are not eligible for existing incentives. The latter proposal represents a funding reduction of $30 million compared to the initial plan, which allocated $45 million for customer-sited PV, and reflects a redirection of expenditures towards the utility-owned portion of PV expansion. The New York Public Service Commission has invited public comments on the revised proposal (Case No. 14-01299) through 10/17/2014.
Legislation has been introduced in Michigan that would effectively repeal the state’s 2008 RPS law. H.B. 5872, introduced on 10/1/2014, would repeal Section 27 of the 2008 law, which contains both the renewable capacity benchmarks and renewable-energy percentage requirements of the law. H.B. 5872 allows only costs incurred before the enacted date of the bill to be recovered from ratepayers. Michigan’s current RPS policy requires all electric utilities to achieve 10% renewables by 2015.
Consumers Energy has filed its rate-design application and supporting testimony with the Public Service Commission (Case No. U-17688), as required. Consumers Energy’s proposal is similar to DTE’s recent proposal. There is nothing in Consumer Energy’s filing that would have an immediate, tangible impact on residential or smaller commercial DG customers. However, both DTE and Consumers Energy have proposed changes that would eliminate volumetric distribution charges for large non-residential customers that receive service at primary distribution or transmission voltages, in favor of assessing all distribution charges under a demand rate. Similarly, for these same customers, the utilities have proposed changes that would raise demand charges for energy supply and transmission components, while lowering the volumetric components. In addition, both utilities have proposed devising the cost-allocation methodology to define all production capacity and transmission costs as demand-related, as opposed to the current division of 50% demand, 25% on-peak and 25% total energy.
The intervention deadline in DTE’s case (U-17689) is 10/10/2014, and a public pre-hearing conference will be held 10/17/2014. The PSC has not yet issued a hearing notice for Consumers Energy’s case.
Background: Pursuant to legislation enacted by Michigan in June 2014, the PSC has ordered Consumers Energy, DTE and Indiana Michigan Power to file proposals that examine the cost-allocation methods and rate-design method they use to set rates for their electric customers. The PSC has also advised eight smaller electric utilities that they may choose to file such applications.
The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission has voted unanimously to investigate distribution rate cases filed separately by FirstEnergy’s four Pennsylvania subsidiaries. The utilities’ requests have been suspended for up to seven months and will be assigned to an ALJ for public hearings and a recommended decision or settlement. A final decision will be made by 5/3/2015.
FirstEnergy subsidiaries Pennsylvania Power, West Penn Power, Metropolitan Edison and Pennsylvania Electric filed comprehensive distribution rate plans with the PUC on 8/4/2014. Each filing includes proposed revisions to distribution base rates (including higher and/or new monthly fixed charges), and generally attempts to move toward a standard rate design and a standard set of rules and regulations for all four utilities.
This is Penn Power’s first base rate case in 26 years and West Penn Power’s first base rate case in in 20 years. For Met-Ed and Penelec, these are the first base rate cases in eight years.