In a formal pleading filed today, Councilmember Roger Berliner called on the Maryland Public Service Commission to move forward with implementation of a “Utility 2.0” pilot program that would transform the delivery of electric service to Montgomery County residents. The Energy Future Coalition, tasked by the Governor’s Grid Resiliency Task Force to offer recommendations for such pilot programs, submitted its report and recommendations on March 15th as requested. The report, entitled “Utility 2.0 -- Piloting a Better Future for Maryland’s Electric Utilities and their Customers”, was included in Councilmember Berliner’s filing and is now formally before the Commission.
“The Governor’s Task Force asked for “big, bold thinking” and the Energy Future Coalition delivered. Their detailed report lays out numerous paths to a far better energy future -- a system truly worthy of the 21st century -- cleaner, more reliable, efficient, technologically advanced and consumer driven. Montgomery County residents deserve nothing less,” said Councilmember Berliner. “But the institutional challenges are real. As EFC observed, while the technology exists to support a revolution in utility service, our regulatory model is a vestige of century-old thinking and our utilities are inherently conservative and not innovators. It is the job of our state regulators who have 100% control over our utilities to ensure that we fully grasp the benefits of a transformed utility system. I urge them to accept this challenge and move Montgomery County and Maryland forward.”
Berliner, Chair of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment Committee, called on the PSC to “request public comment on the recommendations made by EFC, form work groups as appropriate, and move forward with implementing pilot programs that provide our residents with the quality and reliability of distribution service that is appropriate for the 21st century.”
The Energy Future Coalition outlines a framework for the Utility 2.0 pilot comprised of several key attributes, including:
• Performance-based ratemaking: aligning the financial returns of utilities with how it performs on key metrics;
• Having a smarter, customer-driven grid: giving customers more control over their energy consumption using advanced, real-time technologies;
• “On-bill” financing: allowing utilities to finance and customers to repay efficiency investments directly through their bill;
• Micro-grids: that will allow large customers and neighborhoods to use distributed, renewable power with far greater reliability;
• Support for electric vehicle deployment: utility provides substantial initial cost vouchers in exchange for customers allowing the utility to manage their charging.
The full text of Berliner’s pleading and the Executive Summary of EFC’s report, “Utility 2.0: Piloting a Better Future for Maryland’s Electric Utilities and Their Customers,” are attached.
Councilmember Berliner's pleading PSC
Executive Summary of EFC's report
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