Jun
12
2018

A Sea of Change in Charleston

It’s 90 degrees in the shade here in Charleston, South Carolina, where the Southeastern Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (SEARUC) has gathered for its annual meeting. Eleven states’ public utility regulators, from Texas and Arkansas to Florida and the Carolinas, are represented. This year’s theme is “Effective Utility Regulation – All in the Public Interest.” In a time of increasing cynicism about government, it’s uplifting to focus on elected officials and professional staff who work hard for consumers each day.

It’s also refreshing to be with so many who accept that appropriate regulation is needed to monitor and provide course

May
24
2018

Smarter Ways Forward with The Ray

Frequently, PACE talks about consumers’ interest in transportation from a fuel supply angle (oil pipelines) or integrating new technologies (electric vehicles). Many big thinkers are attempting to envision how, when and at what cost energy, telecommunications and transportation will converge. Many laudable “Smart Cities” projects and pilots with broad scopes of inquiry are underway.

While sweeping inquiries are useful, it’s also beneficial to focus more closely on a set of questions and issues. More discrete sets of information often have a better chance of getting and holding people’s attention. Those who live and work far from cities should also

May
15
2018

Wolverines Set Shining Solar Example

Last summer, PACE released a report reviewing state solar net metering policies and discussing ideologies that influence some states to over-compensate private solar generators at the expense of every other consumer on the grid. We’ve enjoyed presenting on this topic and appreciate the many positive comments about our report’s readability and usefulness. Combine the strong response to PACE’s report with the uptick in state legislative and regulatory attention to net metering in 2018, and the result is that PACE will update our report later this year.

However, a few recent state developments merit attention before the fall.

First up is

May
03
2018

Georgia: Doing its Part for Nuclear, Solar & National Security - While Keeping Rates Low

This week, PACE is pleased to feature a guest blog by Dr. David Gattie, a faculty member at the University of Georgia with deep expertise in energy policy, and co-author of our 2017 paper on net metering.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released new data for 2017, so I compiled a few statistics for some of the top GDPs in the U.S. In particular, average residential rates since 1990 (Figure 1) and the energy portfolios for those states (Figure 2). Since my home state is Georgia and we’re working toward the completion of the only nuclear reactors under

May
01
2018

Looking at EVs through Tortoise-Shell Glasses

Aesop’s sayings are still with us today because they contain solid grains of truth. From where PACE sits, consumers will win in the race to electrify transportation if we take it slow and steady, like the tortoise. A recent report from the Smart Electric Power Alliance, (SEPA) bolstered my impression that’s the way the race is unfolding and should continue.

To be honest, I also may be influenced by a long weekend visit to California, where I rarely removed my tortoise-shell sunglasses and over 4 days not one of many Uber drivers appeared in an EV.

A key benefit of

Apr
25
2018

Community Solar for All

PACE supports “all of the above” energy policies, even though the phrase itself has fallen out of fashion in some circles. All of the above, in case we haven’t always been clear, includes renewable energy.

One of the most important renewable sources is community solar. The price is right, compared to many other forms of renewable energy. And there’s something intangible too, that may not appear on a spreadsheet. Somehow, people respond to seeing panels in a small, approachable array while on their way to the grocery store or the local school.

Owing to our interest in community solar, we

Apr
24
2018

A Rising Tide of Questions About Deregulation

As a long-time and loyal UGA fan, I don’t usually make tide references. But the image occurred to me after reading up on some state developments concerning deregulated electricity markets. State leaders and citizens are increasingly asking questions about whether or not deregulation is all it’s cracked up to be, and most importantly, how it affects consumers. The boldest statements have come in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, where last month, Attorney General Maura Healey released a report condemning the state’s competitive retail electricity market. While the report was influenced by a $5 million settlement against one company charged with deceptive

Mar
20
2018

Driving an EV: The Promise and Hazards

PACE is honored to feature guest commentary by Commissioner Chuck Eaton, of the Georgia Public Service Commission.

I love technology and innovation and consider myself an early adopter. I could not wait to get an Apple Watch, and I purchased a Chevy Volt back in 2012 after extensive analysis. As an energy regulator in Georgia, I see both the upside and downside with electric vehicles.

Here’s what I mean.

Let’s start with the grid – one of my daily concerns. Electric cars actually help our grid in Georgia. Our Commission worked with the power company to create a

Jan
31
2018

Florida Energy Consumers Win

Common sense prevailed earlier this month at a brief, but important meeting of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). Under extraordinary pressure, five members of the General Provisions Committee did the right thing and rejected a measure that sought to force drastic changes to the state’s electricity landscape on a rigid timeline. Under “Proposal 51,” Florida’s consumers would have been pushed down a path of uncertainty, experimentation and higher costs.

Since electricity deregulation special interests could revive their push for energy choice, it’s critical to understand why consumers won. The clever, but misleading banners of energy choice and energy freedom mask

Jan
11
2018

PACE Continues Florida Engagement on Deregulation

On Friday, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission will once again examine deregulation of the wholesale and retail electricity markets. PACE will testify, as we did in December, to share our views and research on why deregulation doesn’t work for consumers.

Dear Chair Thurlow-Lippisch:

Thank you for reconvening the General Provisions Committee on January 12 for a portion of the morning to further discuss Proposal 51. The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy will appear again in order to shed light on why Florida should not enshrine complex electricity policy in its Constitution and explain why the Texas electricity market isn’t