“Reforming the Energy Vision” Moves Consumer Experience to Center Stage

Major changes are in store for the electricity-consuming public in New York State. In April, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, which directs the New York State Public Service Commission to move the State’s utilities to a more decentralized structure.

Now known simply as REV, the initiative envisions that customer-side resources will become primary tools in the planning and operation of the State utility system. This will improve system efficiency and enable the deployment of cleaner and more resilient technologies, according to the report written by Department of Public Service staff to propose REV.

“As the Commission undertakes the dramatic transformation envisioned here…customers’ roles and opportunities will change as they become partners in problem solving and active participants in markets,” PSC staff wrote in the report.

Here are three key points made in the REV report:

• Many residential customers “with average usage levels saw their winter electric bills increased by over 80 percent,” according to the report, which acknowledges that the devastating impact on many consumers needs urgent attention before next winter.
• The REV initiative will lead to regulatory changes that promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, and wider deployment of distributed energy resources, including microgrids, on-site power supplies and storage. It will promote greater use of advanced energy management products to improve demand efficiencies.
• These changes will empower customers by allowing them more choice in how they manage and consume electric energy.

The REV proceeding will advance on two tracks:

o The first will examine the utilities’ role in enabling market-based deployment of distributed energy resources to promote load management and greater system efficiency, including peak load reductions.
o The second will look toward changes in regulatory, tariff and market designs and incentive structures to better align utility interests with achieving the REV policy objectives.

The REV report is available at http://tinyurl.com/pym6p4v

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PSC’s Zibelman Leads REV Effort

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is the first major policy initiative of Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman, who was confirmed as a PSC commissioner on June 19, 2013 and named chair on September 3, 2013. Ms. Zibelman has extensive experience in the public, private, and not-for-profit energy and electricity sectors. She is a recognized national and international expert in energy policy, markets, and smart grid innovation.

Ms. Zibelman is a founder and past president and CEO of Viridity Energy, Inc., which she formed after more than 25 years of electric utility industry leadership experience in both the public and private sectors. She has participated as both counsel and expert witness in numerous electric utility proceedings before state and federal regulatory and legislative bodies on topics such as the benefits of power markets and smart grids to consumers. Ms. Zibelman also has served on the boards of organizations responsible for assuring the security and reliability of the nation’s power system, including Reliability First, the GridWise Alliance, and the Midwest Reliability Organization.
Previously, Ms. Zibelman was the executive vice president and CEO of PJM, a regional transmission organization that operates the world’s largest wholesale power market and serves 14 states throughout the eastern United States. She also held executive positions at Xcel Energy, served as general counsel to the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, and as Special Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.