Oregon regulators amend order to allow biennial filing of smart grid reports

The Oregon Public Utility Commission, in a July 27 order, granted its staff’s June 30 motion, which seeks to amend “Order No. 12-158,” to allow biennial filing of smart grid reports.

The commission noted that Order No. 12-158 stated that every year, beginning in 2013, each electric utility must file a smart grid report on a staggered schedule: Portland General Electric (PGE) – June 1; Pacific Power – Aug. 1; and Idaho Power – Oct. 1.

The commission said that in its motion, staff noted that the annual filing of the reports does not give the electric companies enough time to fully analyze longer term impacts of smart grid investments, and that that lack of long-term analysis often results in few changes occurring in the reports from year to year.

According to staff’s motion, staff requests that the commission amend Order No. 12-158 so that it notes that every other year, beginning in 2017, each electric utility must file a smart-grid report on a staggered schedule: PGE – June 1; Pacific Power – Aug. 1; Idaho Power – Oct. 1.

Staff said that under its proposed modified ordering language, the three electric utilities will still file their respective smart grid reports in 2017 – as PGE has already done – but they will not have to file the next report until 2019, rather than in 2018. The reporting intervals of June for PGE, August for PacifiCorp, and October for Idaho Power would remain the same under staff’s proposed language change, staff said.

According to PGE’s 2017 Smart Grid Report, for instance, PGE in 2015 started a process to identify gaps and dependencies between the company’s strategies and to develop a clear, cross-company vision, roadmap, and strategic approach to integrating and deploying smart grid technologies.

PGE said that it has made considerable investments in smart grid initiatives, staff, and research. The company noted that it has completed, is deploying, or is considering more than 50 smart grid initiatives across the company, spanning three categories:

  • Foundational – Hardware and software that enable deployment of smart grid initiatives, allow customers to realize maximum value of smart grid initiatives, and improve cybersecurity
  • Grid optimization – Transmission, substation, and distribution system investments in hardware, software, technologies, and processes, that improve system reliability and efficiency, increase flexibility of grid integration, enhance the ability to reduce peak demand, and reduce overall utility operation costs
  • Customer engagement – Investments in pricing, demand response, and distributed energy resources programs that make customers active participants in the provisioning of energy services, while improving the customer experience, saving energy, enhancing reliability, and reducing peak demand

In its motion, staff said that in May, it held a workshop with interested parties, including all three affected utilities, to receive suggestions about ways to improve the current smart grid report and the reporting process generally. The one suggested change that all parties either agreed upon, or did not oppose, was to change the reporting cycle as set forth in its motion, staff said. As of the date of its motion, staff said that it heard from these parties, each of whom expressed support for the motion: PGE, PacifiCorp, Idaho Power, the Oregon Department of Energy, and the Northwest Energy Coalition.

In its July 27 order, the commission said that no party filed an objection, and that the time to do so has passed.

“We find that good cause exists to grant the motion and amend Order No. 12-158,” the commission said.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.