- The New York Public Service Commission approved a rate increase for Central Hudson Gas & Electric, boosting revenues by $43.4 million across three years.
- The commission also gave a nod to a demand response program Central Hudson proposed as a demonstration project under the state's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, ultimately targeting 11 MW of load reductions in 2019.
- But the commission put the brakes on Central Hudson's proposal to own a community solar facility, directing staff to issue specific documentation on how projects must comply with REV rules.
Central Hudson had requested a $40 million rate hike in one year, but once you factor in bill credits which will be distributed over three years the increase is $43.4 million over the longer period. The credits will offset some consumer bill impacts initially, but the commission's order acknowledged “the underlying rate increases remain and result in more significant bill impacts in later years.”
In addition to the rate request, Central Hudson had floated six proposals connected to the REV proceeding. It's community solar project – which would make the clean power available to customers in 100-kWh portions – drew attention from critics who said it violated rules on utilities owning distributed energy resources.
Ultimately the commission directed staff to develop guidelines for utilities to comply with REV demonstration project requirements. There are exemptions to the limits on utilities owning DERs, including resources on utility-owned property attached to storage, and the ability to own DERs when the competitive market does not develop them. Regulators have also created an exemption for "demonstration projects."
One project was approved, however: a demand response program Central Hudson proposed to target 2 MW of load reduction in 2016, followed by and incremental reductions of 4 MW, 5 MW, and 11
MW in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.
“The planning to achieve load reductions such as these take time, just as the multi-year planning of T&D infrastructure projects would,” the commission said in its order. “With this timeline in mind, we should not delay our approval for the Central Hudson [Non-Wires Alternative] project's financial support, and we will expect Central Hudson to move forward with its NWA project.”