Solving the new energy equation
It is clear that we need to invest in enhanced reliability and in the expansion of our capacity to generate electricity to meet growing customer demand. We know that investments in new state‑of‑the‑art generation, renewables and energy efficiency can be made reasonably with appropriate and timely cost recovery.
Historically, regulators have rewarded utilities for selling more of their product, not less. To solve the new energy equation, we need to change minds about the types of investments that should be eligible for recovery through rates.
We are especially interested in building public support for investments in energy efficiency — the “fifth fuel,” which lowers overall customer demand and reduces or eliminates greenhouse gases and other emissions.
We are working to shift the paradigm in the way regulators treat the business of energy efficiency and in the way utilities develop and deliver such programs. We believe utilities are uniquely positioned to provide universal access to energy efficiency services and new technologies to their customers. This would dramatically change the way utilities develop and deliver energy efficiency programs as part of their standard customer offerings.
To create a sustainable “fifth fuel” system resource accessible by all customers, energy efficiency investments must be on par with new generation investments.
STRIKING A BALANCE
Changing the regulatory paradigm will also help us avoid some of the price jumps that can occur when a new plant, project, initiative or program finally gets up and running. Such constructive regulatory treatment would give us and others in our industry further incentives to explore and invest in these programs and projects.
BUILDING A CONSENSUS
To achieve this goal, we are collaborating with numerous stakeholder groups. We hope to build a consensus that will convince lawmakers and regulators that everyone wins with appropriate regulatory treatment of investments in efficiency and renewable energy.
Our new chief technology officer and new vice president of energy efficiency and their teams are committed to achieving success on these two fronts. They know that our customers need innovative products and services to help them better manage their energy costs and reduce their own environmental footprints — while maintaining the comfort and conveniences they want and expect.
We believe that this balanced strategy is a winning proposition for all stakeholders. Our customers will save money, the environment will be cleaner and our investors will earn fair returns on their investments.