ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Big Rate Decision On Grid Modernization Debated
How Southern California Edison's new rate case would transform the grid; SCE wants to spend $2.3 billion to make its grid ready for distributed energy resources. Here's what that money would buy
Herman K. Trabish, September 21, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The debate about costs and values in SCE’s grid mod proposals are now being debated under the scrutiny of state regulators.
The power of distributed energy resources (DER) to transform customers’ lives depends on the readiness of the grid. It will be costly to electricity customers but a modern grid will allow Southern California Edison (SCE) to deliver a full spectrum of DER within a decade., according to the utility’s “The Emerging Clean Energy Economy.” Such a grid could allow customers to have a fixed monthly bill and long-term contract not unlike a cell phone service with the utility providing, in addition to electricity, a suite of distributed resources. Energy-smart consumers could also choose to shop for private sector vendors to provide solar, storage, and smart technologies…
SCE’s modernized grid, detailed in the white paper “The Emerging Clean Energy Economy,” will ready the utility to be its territory’s Distribution System Operator (DSO). As DSO, SCE will deliver the new technologies coming from private sector DER providers in support of the California’s ambitious climate goals, according to the utility’s new General Rate Case (GRC) for 2018 to 2020, filed alongside the grid paper. If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the GRC would bring SCE’s capital expenditure for 2016 through 2020 to $2.3 billion. But with so much money at stake, the CPUC must be certain the investment will be worth rate increases to SCE customers of 2.7% in 2018, 4.2% in 2019, and 5.2% in 2020, according to ratepayer advocates. How regulators evaluate and rule on the proposal could set the stage for future grid modernization proposals in California and beyond… click here for more
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