The Role of Utility Regulation in the USA

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Information about The Role of Utility Regulation in the USA
Business & Mgmt

Published on June 7, 2013

Author: muninsight



Talk prepared for session in January 2013 at Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, under the auspices of Danish American Business Forum.

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Who we are• We are an independentadvisory firm based inBoston, Massachusetts, USA• We are deeply connected inthe energy markets• We take part in the daily lifeof energy markets and in theagenda setting discussions• The Role of UtilityRegulation in the US

The Role of Utility Regulationin USATalk prepared for session in January 2013 atDanmarks Tekniske Universitet, under theauspices of Danish American Business Forum

Overview of Utilities• 194 independently owned utilities serving68% of customers• over 2,000 munis and Public Utility Districtsserving 14% of customers• 900 co-ops serving 12%• federal power agencies (esp. federal dams)

Geography of the Grid• Eastern Interconnect (everything east ofRockies• except for Texas• Western Interconnect (everything West ofRockies)• interstate transmission regulated by FERC• regional Independent Service Operators(e.g. ISO-NE), corresponds to Nordpool• distribution regulated by states, beginningin 1907

State Regulation Process• Rate cases: establish the rates (prices)utilities can charge their customers• Process:– initial filing– preliminary procedures– hearings– draft decision– final decision– review of decisions

Participants in State Regulation• Public Utility Commissions (quasi-judge)– Mostly 3 commissioners (politically appointed)• utility representative• ratepayer representative (often Attorney GeneralsOffice)• large consumer representative• sometimes other stakeholders, such as environmentalgroups• Attorneys often move across during theircareers• Friendliness/hostility of proceedings differsfrom state to state

Regulation in flux• Example: MA currently conductingInvestigation Into the Modernization of theElectric Grid• States probe new legislation, keeping aneye on other states (just as DK and S copylegislation from each other)

Future• Growth from $26.7 billion by 2017 with aCAGR of 13%• Events (e.g. blackouts) --> reliabilitytrumping price• Regulatory changes --> more ratepayerfunding (AG office: "stemming the flood")• But:– regulatory changes slow– major cyber security issues

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