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CA Commission Explains Affordability Standards

Phillip Cross

CA  Commission Explains Affordability Standards

The California Public Utilities Commission directly addressed issues of affordability of energy rates while authorizing Southern California Edison (SCE) to increase electric rates for 2019 by $335 million or a 6.6% increase over 2018 and by $410 million for 2020 or a 7.5% increase over 2019. Much of the increases are due to past approval of significant capital investments requested by the utility. According to the commission, the magnitude and substance of SCE’s requests stimulated an unprecedented level of testimony and briefing regarding the obligations imposed by the “regulatory compact” and how those are expressed within California’s framework for “forecast-based...

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Mich. Commission Rejects Changes to Capital Structure and System Access Charges

Phillip Cross

Mich. Commission Rejects Changes to Capital Structure and System Access Charges

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a $273.3 million rate increase for DTE Electric Co., but denied the company’s request to assess a system access charge for customers who have installed renewable energy projects. Rate of return on equity was set at 10%, the level employed in the company’s 2018 rate case. It rejected a proposal to use a capital structure weighted more heavily to equity, maintaining the current ratio of 50% equity and 50% debt. The commission also approved an electric vehicle pilot program. DTE will be allowed to invest $13 million in a three-year electric vehicle and...

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Hawaii Issues Framework Order

Phillip Cross

Hawaii Issues Framework Order

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission has issued a ruling giving the state’s major electric operating utilities providing retail electric power service as part of Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc (HECO) system a portfolio of performance-based regulation (PBR) tools intended to replace traditional cost of service regulation with a new framework. It said that while the traditional regulatory structure encourages utilities to make large investments in new power plants and the electric grid in order to earn a profit, the performance-based framework will allow the utilities to earn profits for exemplary business performance and should result in immediate customer  benefits, including reducing what...

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Indiana Rejects Utility Gas Combined Cycle Self-Build Plan

Phillip Cross

Indiana Rejects Utility Gas Combined Cycle Self-Build Plan

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission has denied a petition by Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company (Vectren South) for authority to build an 850 MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT). It found that the proposed large-scale single resource investment: (1) would not result in an outcome that reasonably minimizes the potential risk that customers could sometime in the future be saddled with an uneconomic investment; and (2) fails to foster utility and customer flexibility in an environment of rapid technological innovation. The commission emphasized that the requested pre-approval would obligate regulated customers for a 30-year period in a time of rapid...

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Virginia Rejects Wal-Mart Aggregation Plan

Phillip Cross

Virginia Rejects Wal-Mart Aggregation Plan

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has rejected a proposal by Wal-Mart Stores seeking permission to aggregate the demands of certain nonresidential customers of electric energy. The retailer asked for authority to aggregate the demands of 120 nonresidential retail customers located in the territory of Virginia Electric & Power Company (Dominion) and to aggregate the demands of 44 nonresidential retail customers located in the territory of Appalachian Power Company. The commission found that approval of Walmart’s request is not consistent with the public interest. It said that when the General Assembly had created the possibility of aggregated retail choice, it recognized...

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