Unleashing latent value in distribution utility businesses
No consulting firm has more experience minimizing the costs and maximizing the benefits of extraordinary distribution grid investment for consumer, business, and environmental advocates than the Wired Group. Clients know there is no better resource for smart meter, grid modernization, distribution planning, performance measurement, or distributed energy resource expertise with a customer and community perspective.
While smart meters offer the potential of a favorable benefit-cost ratio for customers, several characteristics of cost-of-service regulation -- including capital bias, the throughput incentive, and rate case timing -- conspire to make such an outcome extremely difficult to secure. Only focused planning efforts pre-deployment, and extensive, ongoing efforts post-deployment, will ensure customer benefits exceed customer costs. Utilities, regulators, and customers must all contribute time, attention, and resources if such outcomes are to be secured, and the Wired Group has a strong track record of helping clients make this happen.
The Wired Group is a secret weapon for advocates interested in unbiased evaluations of grid investment plans, programs, and technologies. Staffed by former utility personnel who refuse to work for investor-owned utilities (IOU), the Wired Group offers clients the most objective and credible technical expertise available to US advocates today. Our experience solving grid reliability, resilience, distributed generation (DG), safety, and efficiency issues as utility employees helps our clients effectively identify and challenge utility investments of low or no value.
Grid Planning Processes
The Wired Group believes a transparent, stakeholder-engaged distribution planning and capital budgeting process is the best way to ensure cost-effective grid investment, prioritized in accordance with customer needs, stakeholder interests, and state policy. Our knowledge of risk-informed decision support, load & distributed energy resource (DER) forecasts, demand response, hosting capacity analysis, grid modeling, grid investment, and grid operations helps us lobby for logical and effective grid planning and capital budgeting processes. In our expert opinion, well-designed grid planning and capital budgeting processes deliver Plans and Budgets which maximize value creation and risk reduction per ratepayer dollar.
The Wired Group has been aware of the tenuous link between extraordinary grid investment and customer value creation since completing our first smart grid deployment evaluation in 2010. We have focused on performance measurement ever since, releasing the first version of our Utility Evaluator performance benchmarking software in 2016. We recommend the use of peer group comparisons in selecting and prioritizing performance metrics, and in establishing meaningful performance targets, in performance-based ratemaking programs. We also help establish performance metrics to hold utilities accountable for grid hardening and improvement plan results. For more information please visit www.utilityevaluator.com.
Distributed Energy Resources
As former utility employees, Wired Group associates have extensive experience accommodating local growth in distributed energy resources (DER). We’ve also operated grids and circuits with high levels of DER and helped design clean DER incentive programs. Our clients benefit from our experiences in these areas through utility-grade understanding of fair interconnection rules and review process designs, as well as the importance of technical interconnection standards, fair allocations of costs between DG owners and non-owners, and DG energy compensation rates and issues.