The National Regulatory Research Institute (NRRI) was founded in 1976 by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). NRRI serves as a research arm to NARUC and its members, the utility regulatory commissions of the fifty states and the District of Columbia in the United States. NRRI's primary mission is to produce and disseminate relevant and applicable research related to the utility sector - natural gas, electricity, water and telecommunications
Mark Your Calendar
"The Role of R&D for Utilities", Thursday, February 4, 2016 (2:30pm - 4:00pm)
The technology transition is well underway. Customers are not waiting for the FCC or State commissions to designate functionally equivalent services but are moving from the traditional Public Switched Network (PSTN) and time division multiplexed (TDM) products to new services made possible by changes to network infrastructure at a rapid rate. Based on their adoption of new services, these customers appear to see few differences between the traditional wired copper network and the new IP and wireless networks.
In many electric utility service territories, rapid growth in distributed generation, especially rooftop solar, is triggering both legislative and regulatory proposals for changes in rate designs. This paper reviews, summarizes, and catalogs over a hundred pending proposals and recently adopted changes, in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The four major types of proposals include, singly or in combinations: (1) higher fixed charges; (2) demand-charges for residential and small commercial customers; (3) higher minimum monthly bills; and (4) changes in the terms and conditions for net metering. Some proposals also include time-differentiated rates, changes in standby charges, tiered- or block-rate structures, and various alternatives to net metering, such as feed-in tariffs, two-way rates, or value-of-solar tariffs, possibly combined with value-of-service rates. Some of the regulatory proposals fall in the context of general rate cases, while others are being heard in single-purpose hearings. This paper lists and classifies the many different types of rate design proposals, including:
This paper examines the status of deregulation across the country in 2015 and explores
the safeguards put in place by state regulators to ensure that communications users continue to
have access to affordable and reliable service, including basic telephone service, regardless of
where they live or the technology they select. The paper addresses the question of how state
regulators can continue to support the public interest mandate of ensuring that consumers receive
the service they need, at prices they can afford, and with the reliability and resiliency necessary
to meet public safety goals in an unregulated environment. It focuses on four key areas of
commission concern: carrier of last resort obligations, service availability and reliability, the
definition of "substitutable services," and the way in which states are addressing the question of
withdrawing traditional landline service as technology transition moves forward.
In recent years, nuclear generation in the United States has encountered numerous challenges in the face of economic, operational, and policy pressures. In 2014, electricity generated from nuclear power accounted for nearly one-fifth of total net generation in the United States. In that year, nuclear plants generated electricity in 31 states, providing service to consumers within and across their borders. While there are concerns about the management of spent nuclear fuel, nuclear power does provide carbon-free baseload generation, is a reliable and dispatchable resource, contributes to fuel diversity, and is an economic stimulus to local areas. Because the operating cost of a nuclear plant is only minimally affected by the cost of fuel, it is, for the most part, a resource that is more immune to fuel price volatility than other energy resources. However, the nuclear industry now faces economic challenges as it attempts to compete with other energy generation technologies, especially low-cost natural gas-fired generation. Nuclear plants in several states have struggled in todayâ€™s energy marketplace and regulatory environment, causing closures, abandonment of planned construction, and concerns about future viability. State legislators and regulators have begun to examine the future of existing nuclear power plants within their respective jurisdictions, and are considering policies that focus on either the continued operation or closure of such plants.
By: Sherry Lichtenberg, Ph.D., Principal Researcher, Telecommunications, NRRI
Universal Service is a key component of both Federal and State communications policy. Its goal is to ensure that all citizens have access to robust, reliable communications services, including broadband connectivity, at affordable rates, with "reasonably comparable service" across the country. Federal Universal Service funds (FUSF) provide a baseline for ensuring that comparable service is available to both urban and rural consumers. State funds both add to support provided by the Federal USF and are used to provide targeted support to address specific issues faced by each state's consumers.
The webinar will focus on the ways in which the States, the FCC, and others can assess, measure, and increase competition for broadband and voice services as the IP transition moves forward. Questions will include: competitive access to government …