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RMI

Integrated Utility Services: A New Business Model for Fort Collins Utilities

Fort Collins Utilities, along with other local stakeholders, has developed an implementation strategy to help meet the city’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. The utility would like to develop a new business model to help customers access a broader range of energy services—including efficiency improvements, distributed renewable energy options, and demand response—offered as a bundled package of integrated utility services (IUS). To accelerate customer adoption, Fort Collins Utilities will roll out a new IUS default option for customers, financed on the utility bill and designed to save customers money from the first day of use.

 

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Why Performance-Based Regulation is Important for the Electric Utility Transformation

In a recent private roundtable on global electricity and technology held by the Energy Security and Climate Initiative, participants discussed the benefits and challenges of implementing performance-based utility regulation. This summary reflects some of the key points in the discussion. 

As discussed in a previous Brookings report, the U.S. electric utility industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Three major inter-related factors are converging to drive this change: policy, technology, and customer engagement….

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Pathway to a 21st Century Electric Utility

Utilities do an excellent job of
 what they are mandated to do— provide safe, reliable and affordable energy. Utilities are not going away, because we require them to operate the electric grid, so why not expand the scope of their mandate to manage an environment in which consumers use energy and electricity more efficiently to create customer value and optimize the electricity system for the benefit of all? In this environment, utilities will be incented to maximize customer and system value, as opposed to simply building infrastructure….

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A Plan B for Every Monopoly Electric Utility?

By  John Farrell. Originally published at ilsr.org.

Electric companies seemingly face a business “death spiral” because the 20th century rules for the electric grid make it a challenge to address stagnant energy demand and competition from energy-producing customers. The result is a utility-funded war on solar and other distributed power, and retrenchment on last century’s business model as many utilities try to gain certainty by taxing solar or requiring customers to pay more regardless of how much energy they use. But one investor-owned utility—Green Mountain Power—is bucking the trend and embracing a 21st century electricity system that’s driven from the ground-up by distributed renewable energy, storage, and smart grids.

A DIFFERENT HISTORYGreen Mountain Power has distinguished itself from its peers for nearly a decade. In 2008, this utility serving 75% of Vermont’s electric customers testified to the state’s Public Service Board that it wanted to expand net metering by increasing project sizes, the capacity cap on projects, and pay a premium of 6 cents per kilowatt-hour—in addition to the retail energy rate—to solar producers because of the value of offsetting dirty, peak energy production….

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Calif. PUC Allows SoCalGas to Provide Distributed Energy Services

By Jeff Stanfield

California utility regulators on Oct. 22 decided to allow Southern California Gas Co. to provide distributed electricity generation services to companies that want to use combined heat and power, fuel cells and other “advanced energy systems” on their properties.

Countering critics who said the gas company should not be getting into the electricity-generation business, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the Sempra Energy subsidiary’s application for a distributed energy resources services, or DERS, tariff, concluding that SoCalGas’ tariff is in the public interest because it meets untapped demand in underserved…

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Disruptive Challenges:  Financial Implications and Strategic Responses to a Changing Retail Electric Business

Prepared by:
Peter Kind Energy
Infrastructure Advocates

Prepared for:
Edison Electric Institute

Executive Summary

Recent technological and economic changes are expected to challenge and transform the electric utility industry. These changes (or “disruptive challenges”) arise due to a convergence of factors, including: falling costs of distributed generation and other distributed energy resources (DER); an enhanced focus on development of new DER technologies; increasing customer, regulatory, and political interest in demandside management technologies (DSM); government programs to incentivize selected technologies; the declining price of natural gas; slowing economic growth trends; and rising electricity prices in certain areas of the country. Taken together, these factors are potential “game changers” to the U.S. electric utility industry, and are likely to dramatically impact customers, employees, investors, and the availability of capital to fund future investment. The timing of such transformative changes is unclear, but with the potential for technological innovation (e.g., solar photovoltaic or PV) becoming economically viable due to this confluence of forces, the industry and its stakeholders must proactively assess the impacts and alternatives available to address disruptive challenges in a timely manner.

This paper considers the financial risks and investor implications related to disruptive challenges, the potential strategic responses to these challenges, …

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