- The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has completed the third of seven steps in its development of performance-based rates, identifying in a Sept. 18 order a series of metrics that will be used to assess Xcel Energy's service.
- The metrics cover five general categories: affordability, reliability, customer service quality, environmental performance and cost-effective alignment of generation and load.
- The PUC also directed Xcel to work with stakeholders to propose ways to measure the effectiveness and success of "shaping, shifting, and shedding metrics" associated with demand response. Stakeholders proposed more than 50 metrics focused on measuring the outcome of cost-effective alignment of generation and load.
Stakeholders proposed more metrics for aligning load with supply than for any other category, with many focused on reducing load during peak times.
"Although a wide variety of metrics were proposed, many stakeholders focused on metrics that measure demand response," the PUC said in its order.
The commission adopted metrics of demand response capacity available (measured in MW), and amount called (measured in MW and MWh/year). "Both of these metrics together will show valuable baseline data and allow for comparison of capacity and demand over time," the commission said.
The PUC also adopted metrics for the integration of customer loads with utility supply, specifically measuring the amount of demand response that "shapes customer load profiles through price response, time-varying rates, or behavior campaigns." Additionally, the order adopts metrics examining peak shifting and load shedding.
"These three metrics will illuminate the various types of demand response on Xcel's system and provide sufficient detail to show how Xcel is aligning generation with load," the PUC said.
Xcel is working with customers, policymakers and stakeholders "to develop new programs that help customers save money, use less energy, and reduce carbon emissions,” according to its statement.
The utility says it is working to reduce carbon emissions in the Upper Midwest by 2030 and wants to deliver 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. The company's efficiency and demand response efforts are a part of this, while it is also considering programs that may help with load shaping in the future, including a time-of-use rate pilot that will be rolled out early 2020.
The PUC also adopted four metrics related to affordability (from 31 proposed by stakeholders), including an average monthly bill metric for residential customers. Others include revenue/kWh and metrics of total arrearages and total disconnections for nonpayment for residential customers.
The commission also adopted adopt metrics for total carbon emissions and carbon emission intensity, and adopted the publicly available customer satisfaction scores created by J.D. Power and the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The PUC's seven-step process for creating performance metrics will now move to the fourth phase, where the PUC will establish and review performance metrics. A schedule for that phase will be set by the PUC's executive secretary.