DC Council bill would establish US's first independent DER authority
- A new bill proposed in the District of Columbia's city government would create an independent authority to oversee the growth of distributed resources and energy efficiency, including the power to review utility investments.
- The new bill, introduced Tuesday by Councilmembers Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Charles Allen (D-At Large), would create a Distributed Energy Resources Authority that would have the authority to review any utility investment over $25 million to "determine whether a non-wires alternative (NWA) can be deployed to meet the capacity/reliability needs."
- If enacted, the bill would make D.C. the first U.S. jurisdiction with such an organization. Pepco, the electric utility that serves the city, says it is "reviewing the proposed legislation further as it raises several concerns, including customer data privacy and security."
In addition to creating the nation's first independent DER Authority, the new Council bill would task that body with delivering yearly DER planning reports to the District of Columbia Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities in the city.
That plan would push Pepco to conduct hosting capacity analyses, streamline interconnection procedures and develop more detailed DER valuation techniques, including the consideration of distributed resources as alternative for traditional infrastructure investments.
The DER Authority consist of 11 members, including renewable energy, cyber, construction and utility experts appointed by the Mayor and Council, as well as representatives from Pepco and the District's gas utility.
In an emailed statement, Pepco said it is still evaluating the bill but expressed concern with the amount of customer data it would have to provide to the commission.
"As drafted, the legislation would allow the Authority access to sensitive customer information, including customer bills, account numbers, usage and billing data and would provide oversight of critical infrastructure projects that Pepco would be required to implement as part of the effort to provide continued safe and reliable service for customers," spokesperson Tasha Jamerson said in an email. "The Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia already exercises oversight in this critical area, as a matter of law."
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