Rhode Island Issues Blueprint for Developing Modern, Consumer-Friendly Grid
PROVIDENCE—Acadia Center applauds the state of Rhode Island for its blueprint to create a modern electric grid that is cleaner, more efficient and more reliable. The Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Office of Energy Resources, and the Public Utilities Commission initiated the Power Sector Transformation Initiative in March 2017 at the direction of Governor Gina Raimondo.
“New clean energy technologies at lower costs offer an historic opportunity to build a modern, more equitable energy system that benefits consumers, reduces pollution and improves economic productivity,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “To achieve that future, states need to reform outdated rules that govern the energy system. With the release of the Power Sector Transformation Phase One report, Rhode Island is embracing that future and has taken a leadership position regionally and nationally.”
The Power Transformation Initiative’s goals are to control long-term electric system costs, to give customers more energy choices, and to build a flexible grid that incorporates more clean energy resources. The agencies jointly released the Rhode Island Power Sector Transformation Phase One report, with accompanying recommendations, earlier this month. Today, National Grid will file a new rate case at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, which is the first opportunity to implement these proposed reforms.
“The Power Sector Transformation Initiative has laid out an ambitious path forward to benefit Rhode Island residents, businesses, communities and the environment,” said Erika Niedowski, policy advocate in Acadia Center’s Providence office. “Acadia Center would like to thank the agencies for running a thorough stakeholder process, which has led to a thoughtful and innovative set of recommendations. Acadia Center also looks forward to reviewing National Grid’s soon-to-be filed rate case proposal for its consistency with the recommendations from Power Sector Transformation.”
Acadia Center, which participated extensively in the Power Sector Transformation’s seven-month public stakeholder process, has long advocated for states to embrace these reforms through materials such as UtilityVision and supports the key reforms recommended in the report:
- Reforming the utility business model with less emphasis on capital investments and more emphasis on achieving key goals for system efficiency, integration of distributed energy resources, and customer engagement and network support services.
- Developing new revenue streams from third parties to improve services for Rhode Island residents and lower ratepayer costs.
- Investing in the intelligence and flexibility of the electric grid.
- Improving distribution system planning to lower costs, efficiently integrate distributed energy resources, and provide more information and better incentives to customers.
“Rhode Island is poised to be the first state in New England to implement serious reforms to the utility business model,” said Amy Boyd, senior attorney at Acadia Center. “This is a key step to incentivizing utilities to act in the public interest, instead of merely advancing their own bottom line.”
“Acadia Center looks forward to the implementation phase of the Power Sector Transformation Initiative and finding the best path forward on cutting edge issues,” said Mark LeBel, staff attorney at Acadia Center. “Rhode Island should work with New York and Massachusetts to lower the cost to Rhode Island ratepayers of back office investments that can be shared across jurisdictions and define a reasonable role for the utility to advance electric vehicle charging.”
See the report at: http://www.ripuc.org/utilityinfo/electric/PST%20Report_Nov_8.pdf
Erika Niedowski, Policy Advocate, Rhode Island Office
Krysia Wazny, Communications Director
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