D.C. PSC looks at ways to improve electric grid

By Ben Delman on June 2, 2016

Last year, the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) opened a proceeding (FC 1130) regarding what is commonly called “Grid of the Future”. PSC proceedings are the public process, similar to a court case, the Commission uses to make decisions. Grid of the Future refers to the technological and policy changes needed to modernize our electricity delivery system. The Commission undertook the proceeding to find ways to make D.C.’s electric grid more reliable, efficient, cost effective and interactive.

Commissioners and staff have held three separate workshops since the proceeding began. These workshops were an opportunity for parties impacted by the proceeding to discuss possible solutions to improve the District’s electric grid.

The first workshop, which consisted of presentations from Federal and District agencies, as well as utilities, focused on the District’s current energy infrastructure. It also examined potential plans to modernize the system. The second workshop featured presentations by developers of distributed energy resources (DERs). DERs are smaller electricity producing facilities such as residential or commercial solar panels. The workshop focused on these types of projects, and the policy and legal barriers the project developers face. The third workshop focused on the legal and regulatory framework necessary to facilitate and support a modern energy delivery system that includes these resources.

The Commission expects to release a report later this summer based upon the findings of the three workshops. The report will make recommendations to the Commission regarding next steps. At this point, the public will have an opportunity to comment as well.

DC SUN has repeatedly submitted comments expressing our frustration that the Commission has not laid out overarching goals or a process for the proceeding. This discourages public participation. This proceeding could have far-reaching implications for the rules, incentives, and frameworks that determine the nature of our energy system. Or, the proceeding could produce nothing at all.

DC SUN is advocating for far ranging reform that facilitates community ownership of solar and micro-grids and encourages tools like demand management to increase sustainability and lower rates. We should have a better sense of the proceeding’s outcome once the Commission releases it report. We’ll keep you updated as the case proceeds.

More information:

Public Service Commission’s initial order opening the proceeding

DC SUN’s initial comments about the proceeding

Compilation of all documents for the proceeding