Fixed charges are the flat monthly fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity they consume. Starting in the 1990s, New York instituted high fixed charges for residential customers. In the Joint Principles on Residential Fixed Charges in New York, 44 organizations call on New York utility regulators to lower these inefficient and regressive rates. These organizations come from many different perspectives, including low-income and consumer advocates, environmental and clean energy public interest organizations, solar advocates, and clean energy industry groups, and span national organizations as well as community organizations all across New York.
Acadia Center's 2017 RGGI report shows that over its eight and a half years of operation, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has helped Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States achieve significant reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants from the electric power sector. Over the same period RGGI states’ economies have outpaced the rest of the country, and electricity prices within RGGI have fallen, even as prices in other states have increased.
A key component to achieving a decarbonized energy future, offshore wind is now a reality in the Northeast. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is operational, Massachusetts is actively reviewing offshore wind project bids, and New York, Maryland, and New Jersey are all developing their own ambitious programs. In Connecticut, offshore wind offers the state an opportunity to grow its clean energy economy, particularly along the shoreline. With three deep-water ports and a skilled manufacturing sector, Connecticut is well-suited to move forward on offshore wind—all that is needed now is policy action.
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority requested addendum comments following the August 17, 2017 public hearing on the scope of their study of the Millstone Power Station. Based on the conversation and testimony presented at the public hearing, Acadia Center advocates that the study must include greater modeling transparency, consider the most recent data available, and increase the modeling timeframe to fully understand the long-term impacts of closure on the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act.
Seventeen organizations signed a letter to encourage the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to develop a generic formula for the residential fixed charge that remains consistent with the outcome of the recent United Illuminating electric rate case---in which the residential fixed charge was cut by 45%---and that also does not deviate from the limited scope of eligible costs defined in Connecticut’s 2015 residential fixed charge statute. The letter outlines how lowering fixed charges will benefit a majority of residential customers, particularly low-income and low-usage customers.
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Public Utilities Regulatory Authority requested comments on the scope of their study of the Millstone Power Station. Acadia Center advocates that the study should develop a robust and transparent modeling approach that includes a base case representative of current trends and procurements, as well as sensitivities to different penetration levels of various demand-side technologies, clean energy resources, and commitments under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
Reforms proposed in Connecticut's 2017 draft Comprehensive Energy Strategy appear to raise significant new challenges to distributed solar deployment. Distributed solar must play a key role in reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions, and these proposed changes put its climate mitigation role at real risk. In this report, Acadia Center raises four high priority concerns that the state must resolve through revisions to the strategy.
Connecticut’s Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) is getting ready to set interim greenhouse gas reduction targets to ensure the state in on track to meet its 2050 mandate, and they are using energy sector modeling to help them with this process. In this letter to the GC3, Acadia Center highlights several concerns with the energy efficiency modeling that has been presented to date.
Fixed charges are the flat monthly fees that every customer pays, regardless of the amount of electricity they consume. Over the past several years, utilities have pushed for higher fixed charges because they guarantee a revenue stream. However, high fixed charges violate well-established regulatory principles, reduce incentives for energy efficiency and clean local generation, and result in higher bills for low-usage customers, who are disproportionately low income. New York has relatively high residential fixed charges compared to the rest of the U.S., and its charges are higher than those in neighboring states. High fixed charges are ultimately incompatible with the energy future envisioned by New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) initiative and should be reduced significantly.
Following the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, cities, states and regions will increasingly need to lead on climate. The nine states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have demonstrated a will to forge ahead in the absence of federal action in the past, and their leadership will make a substantial impact on the global fight against climate change; together, these states have a GDP of $2.8 trillion, representing the world’s 6th largest economy. Fortunately, the list of states taking action on climate is growing.