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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 “To achieve that future, states need to reform outdated rules that govern the energy system.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:

“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


Media Contacts:
Erika Niedowski, Policy Advocate, Rhode Island Office
eniedowski@acadiacenter.org, 401-276-0600

Krysia Wazny, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617-742-0054 x107

Governor Raimondo Nominates Acadia Center’s Abigail Anthony to the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission

Providence, R.I. — Today, Abigail Anthony, Ph.D., will appear before the Rhode Island Senate for hearings to confirm her appointment by Governor Gina Raimondo as commissioner on the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (RIPUC). Dr. Anthony is currently director of Acadia Center’s Rhode Island Office and its Grid Modernization Initiative.

Since Dr. Anthony began at Acadia Center in 2007, she has had a leading role in advancing Rhode Island’s energy efficiency policies and grid modernization to achieve a sustainable and consumer-friendly energy system. This work will continue as she joins the Rhode Island PUC, which is working at the behest of Governor Raimondo to develop a more dynamic regulatory framework that will enable Rhode Island and its utilities to advance a cleaner, lower-cost energy system.

“In the decade that Abigail has been leading Acadia Center’s work in Rhode Island, the state has become a national leader in energy efficiency and adopting reforms to advance clean energy,” said Daniel Sosland, president of Acadia Center. “Abigail’s efforts have been instrumental in this progress and have helped build the foundation for a cleaner, more consumer-friendly and lower-cost energy system for Rhode Island’s businesses and residents. Governor Raimondo’s recent directive to take steps to modernize the power grid indicates that the state is serious about building a clean energy future. RIPUC will play a central role in determining Rhode Island’s energy future. Acadia Center will miss Abigail, but we are excited that she will bring her thoughtful, reasoned approach to the challenging issues before the PUC.”

In collaboration with the Office of Energy Resources and Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, the Public Utilities Commission is currently working to draft regulations that will allow clean energy resources to be integrated into the grid more easily. To comply with the Governor’s directive, they will explore utility function and compensation, the effects of adopting electric vehicles and electric heating, and means of expanding customer and third-party participation.

Today’s Senate committee hearing has been scheduled to confirm Dr. Anthony’s nomination. Acadia Center looks forward to continuing its work in Rhode Island to advance a clean energy future that will build a stronger economic future, improve public health and reduce climate pollution through initiatives expanding energy efficiency, clean energy and transportation, power grid modernization and community energy.


Media Contacts:
Daniel Sosland, President
dsosland@acadiacenter.org, 207.236.6470

Krysia Wazny, Communications Director
kwazny@acadiacenter.org, 617.742.0054 ext. 107

Acadia Center
144 Westminster Street, Suite 203
Providence, RI 02903
401.276.0600