Utah PSC says RMP can halt annual smart grid reports

Because Rocky Mountain Power (RMP) addresses smart grid activities in various proceedings in Utah, including its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and demand-side management (DSM) efforts, the Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) determined that an annual smart grid reporting requirement for RMP was becoming redundant and should end.

The PSC’s Feb. 24 order came after various parties provided comments on RMP’s 2015 smart grid report and whether the utility should continue providing an annual report to the PSC on its smart grid efforts. While the utility and the Utah Division of Public Utilities (DPU) said that the PSC should end RMP’s smart grid reporting requirement, Western Resource Advocates (WRA) and Utah Clean Energy said the utility should expand its smart grid efforts and continue the reporting requirement.

As TransmissionHub reported in December 2015, WRA said RMP should examine voltage control of transmission and distribution assets as utilities and regulators across the country are becoming more interested in the benefits of Conservation Voltage Reduction, which allows utilities to monitor voltage levels at different locations and lower them to save energy without hindering grid reliability.

The reporting requirement stemmed from a 2009 PSC order that found merit in RMP monitoring smart grid technologies and providing an annual report on any findings, the PSC noted in the Feb. 24 order.

Currently, smart grid activities and grid modernization efforts are discussed in numerous forums, including the IRP process, a DSM advisory group and periodic service quality review group meetings, the PSC pointed out.

“For purposes of regulatory efficiency we find that rather than filing a largely redundant annual report, the topic of smart grid should continue to be addressed” within the context of those proceedings, and the annual reporting requirement should end, the PSC said.

Parties will have an opportunity to comment on the sufficiency of RMP’s smart grid efforts during the IRP comment period and in other forums, the PSC said.