Unleashing latent value in distribution utility businesses
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Wired Group associates are proud of the contributions they are making to the distribution utility performance improvement body of knowledge. Most of our work is in the public domain, and links to some of our more noteworthy public contributions are provided below.
This white paper, authored by Wired Group associates on behalf of GridLab, describes the most common deficiencies found in utility smart meter and grid modernization plans. It also offers tips on distribution planning processes, and helps stakeholders understand what needs to be done to ensure the economic benefit potential of smart meter and grid modernization investments is maximized for customers. Patterned after a similar white paper on grid modernization in Virginia, it is targeted to South Carolina stakeholders and includes a critique of Duke Energy's 2018 Grid Improvement Plan.
This white paper, authored by Wired Group associates on behalf of GridLab, preceded the South Carolina whitepaper and served as a model for it. Focused on Virginia, the whitepaper included a critique of Dominion's 2018 Grid Transformation Plan. The white paper was widely read in Virginia, and featured prominently in testimony sponsored by Appalachian Voices and the Southern Environmental Law Center in SCC Case No. PUR-2018-00100. The SCC rejected without prejudice most of Dominion's Grid Transformation Plan as unreasonable and imprudent.
In this testimony on behalf of The Utility Reform Network in Southern California Edison's 2018 rate case, Wired Group associates identify the root causes of Distributed Energy Resource (DER) reliability challenges, and provide cost-effective alternatives to accommodate high levels of DER. (CPUC A16.09.001)
Evaluation of Duke Energy's Ohio Deployment for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
Wired Group principals and associates conducted a mid-deployment review of one of the larger U.S. smart grid deployments for one of the more forward-thinking regulators in the U.S. The evaluation incorporated a cybersecurity review, benefit quantification, organizational performance review, and project progress audit. (Ohio PUC 10-2326-GE)
Evaluation of SmartGridCity for Xcel Energy
Wired Group principals and associates evaluated the costs and benefits (economic, reliability, and customer experience) of various smart grid capabilities for this smart meter and distribution automation demonstration project covering 46,000 customers in Boulder, Colorado. (Colorado PUC 11A-1001E)
Arguments Against Cost Ineffective Smart Meter Deployment -- Massachusetts
In this testimony on behalf of the Attorney General in Massachuetts' Grid Modernization Plan proceedings, Wired Group principals and associates describe the pre-requisites for a smart meter deployment to deliver a favorable benefit-cost ratio for customers, highlighting the shortcomings of certain time-varying rate offers, capacity market designs, and ratemaking processes in a retail choice state. (Massachusetts DPU 15-120)
In this testimony on behalf of The Utility Reform Network in Pacific Gas & Electric's 2017 General Rate Case, Wired Group principals and associates describe cost-effective approaches to grid planning for distributed energy resource (DER) integration, as well as appropriate allocation of costs between DER owners and ratepayers. The Wired Group also presents PG&E's historical capital investment trends relative to US investor-owned utility averages. (CPUC A15-09-001)
Arguments Against Cost Ineffective Smart Meter Deployment -- Kentucky
In this testimony on behalf of the Attorney General, Wired Group principals and associates critique the size of benefits estimated by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric in their proposal to deploy smart meters. The critique highlights typical deficiencies the Wired Group has observed in smart meter benefit-cost analyses, including long benefit periods, aggressive conservation and revenue assurance benefits, customer exposure to rate case timing issues in periods of falling operating costs, and similar issues. (Kentucky PSC 2016-00371 & 2016-00371)
Review and Synthesis of Available Research on Smart Grid Customer Benefits and Costs
In this secondary research project conducted on behalf of the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative, the Wired Group summarized research on the benefits of various smart meter and distribution automation capabilities (including direct and indirect economic, reliability, environmental, and customer choice benefits) and related them to costs in an easy-to-use "per customer" format. A companion guide, Technical and Economic Smart Grid Concepts for Consumers, was also developed as part of the project.
Proposal to Introduce Performance-Based Utility Compensation
In this testimony on behalf of the Coalition for Utility Reform, Wired Group President Paul Alvarez outlines the rationale and structure for distribution utility performance measurement and performance-based compensation before the Maryland PSC (Case 9361).
Proposal to Use Smart Meter Data to Address Multiple Sources of Cost Shifting
In this testimony on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund, Wired Group President Paul Alvarez describes why and how smart meter data should be used to address multiple sources of cost shifting between and among rate classes, and particularly for customers with PV solar systems, before the Kansas Corporation Commission (Docket 15-WSEE-115-RTS).
Integrated Distribution Planning: An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Wired Group President Paul Alvarez authored this article published by Public Utilities Fortnightly in November, 2014. The article was further honored internationally by being republished in the ICER Chronicle in April, 2015.
Maximizing Customer Benefits: Smart Grid Performance Measurement and Action Steps
Wired Group President Paul Alvarez authored this article published by Public Utilities Fortnightly in January, 2012.
Buying Into Solar: Rewards, Challenges, and Options for Rate-Based Investments
Wired Group President Paul Alvarez authored this article published by Public Utilities Fortnightly in December, 2009.