Massachusetts utilities ordered to modernize the grid
- The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has ordered the state's electric distribution utilities to file long-term plans to modernize the grid over a ten year period, with regular upgrades to each plan as modernization progresses.
- A separate order asks utilities to offer time-varying rates and empower customers to make more informed decisions about their electricity use.
Grid modernization is becoming an increasing priority for states looking to pursue energy efficiency savings and enable greater customer choice.
"This order establishes the platform and the incentives for utilities and other businesses to innovate and invest in new technology, to continue to upgrade our current infrastructure, and to increase the use of renewable energy, electric cars, energy storage, and microgrids," said Ann Berwick, DPU chair. "At the same time, customers will be empowered to control their electricity use and save money."
Introducing time-varying rates will put more control in the hands of customers. Rewarding customers for not using electricity during peak demand periods (and rewarding them for using electricity during times of low demand) will help further grid reliability and potentially avoid new generation by reducing peak load.
"By implementing grid modernization, Massachusetts will once again be leading the nation in the clean energy revolution and enabling customers to participate in how and when they consume energy," said Maeve Valley Bartlett, state secretary for the department of energy and environmental affairs.