Maryland PSC looks at ‘transforming electric distribution’ encouraging solar

In a move triggered by the merger of the Exelon (NYSE:EXC) acquisition of Pepco Holdings (PHI), the Maryland Public Service Commission has launched a “targeted” review of electric distribution systems in the state.

The PSC said in a Sept. 26 news release that it wants to ensure that electric distribution systems in the state are customer-centered, affordable, reliable and environmentally sustainable.

This proceeding builds on two PSC technical conferences held in the past year that examined rate-related issues affecting the deployment of distributed energy resources (such as solar) and electric vehicles.

It also follows up on a condition of the commission’s May 2015 approval of the merger of Exelon and Pepco, which required PHI to file a plan for transforming its distribution system and fund up to $500,000 to retain a consultant to the PSC on the matter.

Earlier this year, the Maryland PSC had declined to endorse a public purpose micro-grid proposal from Exelon utility Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE).

In convening Public Conference 44, the Commission invites all interested stakeholders to participate and submit comments by Friday, Oct. 28, on the issues and also on a suggested timeline and format for the public conference.

After reviewing the public comments, the Commission will publish an agenda for the first public meeting, which will be held in early December.

“The Commission’s recent technical conferences, PHI’s filing and initiatives of state regulators across the country on similar issues demonstrate that Marylanders could benefit from a targeted review of key aspects of Maryland’s electric distribution systems,” said PSC Chairman W. Kevin Hughes. “Some of our goals with this public conference include exploring issues that will maximize benefits and choice to Maryland electric customers and, in particular, assess how the evolving electric grid impacts low and moderate income ratepayers.”

The proceeding will consider specific opportunities to transform Maryland’s electric distribution systems. Key topics of exploration will include:

  • Enhancing rate design options, particularly for electric vehicles
  • Calculating benefits and costs of distributed energy resources, including solar energy
  • Maximizing advanced metering infrastructure (smart meters) benefits
  • Valuing energy storage properly
  • Streamlining the Interconnection process for distributed energy resources
  • Evaluating distribution system planning
  • Protecting limited-Income Marylanders

Comments can be e-filed using the Commission’s e-file system at www.psc.state.md.us/efile/.

 

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.