Tue15Nov20162:30-4:30pm ESTNARUC Annual conference at the La Quinta Resort and Club in La Quinta, CA (Room Flores 6)
The three presentations by NRRI’s Researchers at the NRRI Colloquium during the NARUC Annual conference in La Quinta, CA, on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 (2:30pm-4:30pm) will be as follows:
(1) Broadband Access and Adoption – Where are we? by Sherry Lichtenberg, Ph.D., NRRI Principal Researcher-Telecommunications
The FCC, providers, public interest groups, and others have encouraged broadband deployment and access through programs such as the Connect America Fund, the Broadband Lifeline Program, and carrier-sponsored programs such as Comcast's Internet Essentials. The states have also implemented programs to encourage broadband availability and adoption,. This presentation will these programs and others (including Facebook's proposed free internet program) in order to assess the status of broadband adoption across the country.
(2) Reimagining Interconnection Rules for an Eventual Plug-and-Play DG Future by Tom Stanton, NRRI Principal Researcher-Energy & Environment, and Kathryn Kline, NRRI Research Associate
The recent rapid growth in applications for distributed energy resources is partly the result of major technological improvements and cost reductions. Some of those improvements are enabling changes in utility interconnection procedures for distributed generation and storage, especially for systems that use new smart inverters. Interconnection standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and testing standards from Underwriters Laboratory (UL) are both undergoing major revisions, in keeping with the new technical capabilities for safe integration with the electric grid. Forthcoming work by NRRI Principal Researcher Tom Stanton and Research Associate Kathryn Kline will explore the kinds of technical revisions that are in the works and identify possible changes in pre-existing interconnection rules, standards, and practices that state commissions might consider, to reduce interconnection challenges for both utilities and system designers, installers, and their customers. This colloquium presentation will outline plans for that research and invite any additional questions or topics to be included in this project.
(3) When Are Multiyear Rate Plans in the Public Interest? by Ken Costello, NRRI Principal Researcher
This presentation is based on a research report to be released later this month and lays out a general approach for regulators in evaluating Multiyear Rate Plans (MRPs) as a ratemaking mechanism with the potential to advance the public interest. It first discusses the expected benefits and outcomes of MRPs over traditional ratemaking practices. The paper then takes a more critical approach by accounting for the downsides of MRPs. The fact that relatively few utilities are currently operating under a MRP suggests that like most other mechanisms it has its costs as well as benefits. An overall evaluation therefore requires a cost-benefit review. Utility customers can potentially benefit from MRPs in four major ways: (1) lower prices, (2) more moderate price changes over time, (3) utility supply of more services, (4) higher reliability and improved customer service, and (5) more immediate price benefits from improved utility performance. For regulators, the question is: What would it take to produce these benefits? This research attempts to answer this question, although admittedly not definitely and completely.