The Edison Electric Institute, the major US association of shareholder-owned electricity companies, has, in partnership with major US environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council, signed a joint statement to state utility regulators that could become a model for many other industry sectors, especially those involved in selling commodity goods. Key elements include the electricity companies agreeing to sell energy services instead of electricity; The joint statement includes the following concepts:
- the retail electricity distribution business should not be viewed or regulated as if it were a commodity business dependent on growth in electricity use to keep its owners financially whole. Instead, utility businesses should focus on meeting customers’ energy service needs.
- payments for use of grids by owners and operators of distributed generation systems.
- rates that reward customers for using electricity more efficiently.
- performance based incentives tied to benefits delivered to customers by cost effective initiatives to improve energy efficiency, integrate clean energy generation, and improve grids.
- working together to ensure that energy efficiency services reach underserved populations,
- helping electricity users take advantage of all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities through an integrated combination of financial incentives to customers and minimum standards governing the performance of buildings and equipment; and
- asking regulators to support significantly enhanced utility investment in ‘smart meters’ and a ‘smart grid’ that focuses on delivering new energy management tools to customers, enabling increased energy efficiency, supporting efficient new technology such as plug-in electric vehicles, and reducing the cost of integrating renewable energy generation with variable output into resource portfolios.
The complete Joint Statement can be found at http://docs.nrdc.org/energy/files/ene_14021101a.pdf. The press release is at http://www.nrdc.org/media/2014/140212.asp