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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

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

3 state commissions upending the way utilities do business

Oregon, Illinois and Hawaii regulators are disrupting the traditional utility cost-of-service model to incentivize bringing more distributed energy resources online.