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Rate Design Reform

Photo illustration by Brian Tucker/Utility Dive; photograph by tommaso79 via Getty Images

Note from the editor

Traditional fixed rates are losing ground to dynamic utility rates that better match power supply and demand.

A long-term goal of such real-time pricing is also to allow peer-to-peer, or transactive, energy trading.

In addition, innovations are starting to seep in from other industries, if only at the discussion stage, such as the concept of subscription options, familiar to smartphone and home entertainment consumers.

At the same time, state regulators are increasingly moving to tie rates to utility results on various performance metrics and examine how rates can spur adoption of EVs, storage and other new technologies.

The following trendline examines the present and future of how utilities get paid and how that's evolving to meet the needs of a cleaner, more decentralized grid.

Larry Pearl Senior Editor

Hawaii finalizes utility regulation considered potential template for US power system transformation

Stakeholders agree the final performance-based regulation order from the state's regulators includes opportunities and safeguards that can be lead to a new regulatory paradigm.

​From Maryland to California and beyond, rate design innovations are boosting the energy transition

Success with time-of-use rates can allow utilities to start integrating more variable and distributed generation, leading to more sophisticated time-varying rates.

Duke-solar industry breakthrough settlement aims to end rooftop solar cost shift debates

Successor tariff deal reshapes solar with dynamic rates, demand response requirements

FERC reversal on electric co-op exit fee jurisdiction could have broader rate implications, analysts say

Federal regulators' determination that exit fees are a part of wholesale rates could impact future cases.

Momentum grows for piloting Netflix-like fixed subscription rates, but not everyone's on board

A new flat bill concept can meet customer demand for simpler bills if smart technologies prevent abuse

Audit of Hawaiian Electric sends a postcard about the future of regulation

Hawaiian Electric’s shortcomings show the nation how traditional regulation's weaknesses drive the need for performance-based regulation in the power sector.

What will electricity pricing look like in 2040?

​Experts weigh in on their rate design predictions: Is the future complex rates and set-it, forget-it technologies or Netflix-like subscription plans?

EV-specific rates are the gateway to direct load management, SEPA report finds

2020 Outlook: New state action on customer empowering rate designs and business models

Regulators, utilities and stakeholders will pilot simple price signals and work toward agreement on a performance-based framework, but California may be in for a surprise.

The value of customer-sited storage: It's about more than demand charges, study finds