New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision Proceeding Continues to Make Strides Toward the Utility of the Future

December, 11, 2015
Radina Valova
Staff Attorney

With reporting by Ruben Espinoza, Pace Law School ’17

As the end of the year approaches, New York's energy revolution continues to gain momentum. Pace recently filed comments on two matters critical to the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding: Track Two, which will determine the form of utility ratemaking and business models under REV, and the Department of Public Service’s guidance paper on utility Distributed System Implementation Plans (DSIPs), which will define the utilities’ new roles and responsibilities in REV. In addition, Pace intervened in Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.'s most recent rate case and commends the New York Public Service Commission for including two important REV-related initiatives in its 2015 O&R rate order.

In our comments on the Track Two White Paper on Ratemaking and Utility Business Models, Pace and its Clean Energy Organization Collaborative partners, a group we convene, made a number of recommendations to maximize REV’s success, consistent with our previously articulated REV goals, including that the value of distributed energy resources (DERs) must be accurately calculated, and must include the environmental benefits and other benefits that DER brings to the grid. In addition, Pace developed detailed guidance on the design of new earnings opportunities and incentives for New York’s utilities.

Similarly, in our comments on the Department of Public Service’s guidance paper on Distributed System Implementation Plans, Pace and our Clean Energy Organization Collaborative partners made a number of recommendations on utilities’ new roles and responsibilities under REV. At the outset, New York’s State Energy Plan goals must be folded into the DSIPs to ensure that New York will achieve its ambitious energy efficiency, greenhouse gas reduction, and renewables targets. Furthermore, Pace recommended that the Public Service Commission provide much more detailed guidance on what utilities must do to support the competitive DER market—a robust market is possible only with strong utility backing.

In addition to engaging in the Track Two and DSIP comments, Pace continues to intervene in utility rate cases. On October 16, 2015, New York’s Public Service Commission adopted a rate plan for Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R). During the rate case, Pace advocated for two REV-related initiatives: the implementation of a new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system that will drive energy efficiency and lower customer bills, and a “non-wires alternative” project that will use DERs to defer traditional infrastructure investment (the Pomona Project).

Both the AMI and Pomona projects are essential to moving O&R toward the goals articulated in REV, and Pace commends the Public Service Commission for approving the projects and its leadership on these issues.

As one of the only non-governmental organizations participating in utility rate cases and a leader in the REV proceedings, Pace is working hard to ensure that New York utilities stay on track with the State’s ambitious goals for REV. As we head into the New Year, Pace looks forward to helping to continue to shape the utility of the future.